Absence of PCB Hot Spot Effect in Walleye Sander vitreus from Lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

  • Charles P. MadenjianEmail author
  • Daniel J. Dembkowski
  • Daniel A. Isermann
  • Stuart A. Batterman
  • Sergei M. Chernyak
  • Stewart F. Cogswell
  • Mark E. Holey


Under certain conditions, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration in individuals of one sex of an adult fish population may exceed that of the other sex by more than a factor of two. This phenomenon, known as the PCB hot spot effect, has been postulated to be contingent upon the following two conditions: (1) presence of a PCB hot spot in the bottom sediments of the aquatic ecosystem, such that prey PCB concentrations in the hot spot region are substantially higher than prey PCB concentrations in locations distant from the hot spot, and (2) habitat use varying between the sexes, such that individuals of one sex inhabit the hot spot region to a considerably greater degree than individuals of the other sex. To test whether PCB concentrations in walleye Sander vitreus from lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan displayed a PCB hot spot effect, whole-fish PCB concentrations were determined in ten female and ten male adult walleye from the population spawning in the Fox River, the main tributary to lower Green Bay. In addition, mark-recapture data for the Fox River walleye population were analyzed to determine differences in spatial distributions between the sexes. Results revealed that the ratio of mean PCB concentration in males to mean PCB concentration in females was only 1.13, indicating the absence of a PCB hot spot effect. This result was corroborated by the mark-recapture data analysis, which showed no significant difference in habitat use between the sexes. Thus, although condition 1 was met, condition 2 was not met. Consequently, the PCB hot spot effect was not observed in the Fox River walleye population. Lack of a significant difference in PCB congener distributions between the sexes further corroborated our conclusions.



The authors thank Steve Hogler and other WDNR personnel for their assistance with the capture of walleye from the Fox River spawning run and for estimating walleye ages, Tim Desorcie and Lynn Ogilvie for their assistance with homogenization of the walleye, Emma Easterly and Jenna Ruzich for preparing the map, and Justin VanDeHey for reviewing a draft of this manuscript and providing helpful comments for its improvement. Use of trade, product, or firm names does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author Charles P. Madenjian has no actual or potential conflicts of interests to disclose with regard to this manuscript submission to Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles P. Madenjian
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel J. Dembkowski
    • 2
  • Daniel A. Isermann
    • 3
  • Stuart A. Batterman
    • 4
  • Sergei M. Chernyak
    • 4
  • Stewart F. Cogswell
    • 5
  • Mark E. Holey
    • 6
  1. 1.U. S. Geological SurveyGreat Lakes Science CenterAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Fisheries Analysis CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA
  3. 3.U. S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research UnitUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA
  4. 4.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.U. S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceAnchorage Fish and Wildlife Conservation OfficeAnchorageUSA
  6. 6.U. S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceGreen Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation OfficeNew FrankenUSA

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