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The relation between polychlorinated biphenyls and population metrics of 4 species of fish from the upper Hudson River, New York, USA

Maceina, Michael J., Sammons, Steven M.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2019 v.38 no.2 pp. 329-339
Ameiurus nebulosus, Micropterus dolomieu, Micropterus salmoides, Perca flavescens, fish, polychlorinated biphenyls, risk assessment, Hudson River, New York
In the upper Hudson River, New York, USA, fish were exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the 1940s to 1977, and PCBs still persist in this environment. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens), brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), and largemouth bass (M. salmoides) were collected annually from 2003 to 2009 from 1 control site upstream of the PCB discharge locations and from 2 sites downstream from where PCBs were released. Fish PCB concentrations were estimated, and 3 population metrics were examined: 1) relative abundance, 2) weight‐to‐length ratio, and 3) growth. Normalized lipid‐based PCB concentrations at the 2 PCB exposure pools averaged approximately 100 to 600 μg/g. Estimated relative abundances with electrofishing were higher for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and brown bullhead at PCB exposure sites compared to the control site; but yellow perch were more abundant at the control site. Weight to length ratios varied among sites and species, but no consistent pattern was evident in relation to PCBs at the population level or for individual fish. Growth rates for yellow perch and brown bullhead were similar among sites. Largemouth bass growth was slightly higher at the control site compared to the 2 PCB sites, but smallmouth bass growth was much higher at the PCB sites compared to the control site. We could not detect any relation or influence of PCBs on the 3 population metrics that we examined. the present results corroborated those of previous investigations concerning the effects of PCBs on fishes. We recommend stronger consideration of the biological impacts of PCBs at the population level when conducting risk assessments. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:329–339. © 2018 SETAC