Date of Award

5-16-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Fisk, Aaron

Second Advisor

Haffner, G

Keywords

food webs, PCBs, stable isotopes, trophic ecology

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Ontogeny has the potential to influence the resource utilisation and contaminant dynamics of freshwater fishes but this has rarely been compared among species with different foraging strategies. Here, stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S), and PCBs (IUPAC #: 153, 138, and 180) were used to investigate differences in resource utilisation and contaminant accumulation across ontogeny among three fishes with different foraging strategies (Benthivore: freshwater drum, Aplodinotus grunniens; Piscivore: walleye, Sander vitreus; and Omnivore: white perch, Morone americana) in Lake Erie’s western basin. All three species had distinct patterns of resource utilisation and contaminant accumulation with size (ontogeny) as indicated by their PCB concentrations and stable isotope values. This suggests that ontogeny plays an important role in trophic dynamics of freshwater ecosystems, and that a species functional role should not be categorized by their adult life stage.

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