PCBs refocused: Correlation of PCB concentrations in Green Bay legacy sediments with adjacent lithophilic, invasive biota

S. Macksasitorn, J. Janssen, K. A. Gray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Green Bay sediments exhibit a gradient of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations from the mouth of the Fox River to the northern end of the bay. This study explored whether the sediment concentration gradient was reflected along Green Bay's rocky (non-depositional) eastern coast in a suspension feeder, the invasive quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis), as well as in the main predator on quagga mussels, the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). We performed congener-specific PCB analyses on quagga mussels and round gobies collected from ten sites along the east shore of Green Bay. PCB results were compared with sediment data. Regression analyses showed that mussel tissue PCB concentrations followed sediment PCB concentrations (F1,6=16.4, P=0.007) except at two sites near Sturgeon Bay where cleaner Lake Michigan water enters in tidal pulses. Round goby PCB concentrations also followed the sediment trends (F1,7=8.17, P=0.024). However, only a weak relationship between PCB concentrations in quagga mussel and round goby was found (P=0.085), even though the species are trophically linked. Here, ontogenetic and seasonal details of round goby diet strongly influenced PCB concentrations such that in areas adjacent to high sediment PCB concentrations, fish length dictated round goby's PCB concentration (F1,14=7.46, P=0.016). Overall, our findings indicate that these exotic benthos refocus PCBs in near-shore regions in a pattern similar to that observed in sediments. Our results also highlight the need to understand trophic details in order to track contaminant bioaccumulation accurately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Green Bay
  • Invasive species
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Sediments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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