An Assessment of the Environmental Effects of Dredged Material Disposal in Lake Superior. Volume 3. Biological Studies: Duluth-Superior and Keweenaw Study Areas.
WISCONSIN UNIV-MADISON MARINE STUDIES CENTER
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This project was funded by the Corps of Engineers to study effects of in-lake dredge spoil disposal on toxicity and availability of heavy metals to the biota of Lake Superior. Attention was focused on the benthic organisms in direct contact with the sediment. In the laboratory sublethal bioassays were used to examine effects of mercury and zinc contaminated sediments on the burrowing scud, Pontoporeia affinis. This amphipod is the predominant benthic invertebrate in Lake Superior and a major food base for Lake Superior fishes. Changes were observed in locomotor activity of Pontoporeia as a measure of their health on sediments with and without added mercury and zinc, and whole body concentrations of these metals were measured in Pontoporeia after exposure to the enriched sediments for periods of two days to two weeks. The benthic communities near Duluth-Superior were surveyed and maps showing distribution and abundance of organisms were prepared. Samples were collected for background levels of various elements in sediments, invertebrates, and fish in Lake Superior. Shorebird populations were surveyed at Duluth-Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula. The authors also worked with scientists at Michigan Technological University to obtain similar information for the Corps of Engineers at the Keweenaw Waterway and adjacent Lake Superior.
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