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Awards: October 2008

Posted: October 31, 2008

Researcher Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja received funding for one project:
Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja -- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation -- Food Web-mediated Transport and Bioaccumulation of Flame Retardants (PBDE) in Sport Fish from Eastern Lake Erie -- $100,000

The effects of bioaccumulative contaminants in sport fish is a current concern in Lake Erie, affecting human health and the viability and recreational value of the resource. Contaminant transport to top predators can be magnified by the presence of non-indigenous species, such as in the dreissenid mussels-round gobies-sport fish connection. We are interested in studying food web transport and loadings of the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). PBDE is a chemical of concern currently in use that is accumulating in Great Lakes fish at a faster rate than the banned polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and is similar to PCBs in chemical structure and effects on metabolic pathways in vertebrates. Although the USA is the largest user of PBDE in the world, there is no information on how the structure of food webs, particularly those altered by exotic species, affect transport and bioaccumulation of PBDEs. We propose to measure PBDE loadings at different food web levels in eastern Lake Erie that include exotic as well as native species. We will determine PBDE congener load in sport fish (walleye, lake trout, steelhead trout, smallmouth bass), forage fish (gobies, emerald shiners, smelt), invertebrates (dreissenids, amphipods, zooplankton), water and sediment.  We will use stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) to determine food web position and trophic interactions among organisms. This information will provide knowledge on food web pathways of transport of PBDEs to sport fish and bioaccumulation and will provide a baseline for consumption advisories of sport fish and management of health impacts of invasive species. 

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