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Open-File Report 2014–1027

Prepared in Cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Monitoring of Wild Fish Health at Selected Sites in the Great Lakes Basin: Methods and Preliminary Results

By Vicki S. Blazer, Patricia M. Mazik, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Ryan Braham, Cassidy Hahn, Heather L. Walsh, and Adam Sperry

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.62 MB)Abstract

During fall 2010 and spring 2011, a total of 119 brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), 136 white sucker (Catostomus commersoni), 73 smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), and 59 largemouth bass (M. salmoides) were collected from seven Great Lakes Basin Areas of Concern and one Reference Site. Comprehensive fish health assessments were conducted in order to document potential adverse affects from exposure to complex chemical mixtures. Fish were necropsied on site, blood samples obtained, pieces of liver, spleen, kidney, gill and any abnormalities placed in fixative for histopathology. Liver samples were saved for gene expression analysis and otoliths were removed for aging. A suite of fish health indicators was developed and implemented for site comparisons and to document seasonal effects and species differences in response to environmental conditions. Organism level (grossly visible lesions, condition factor), tissue level (microscopic pathology, organosomatic indices, micronuclei, and other nuclear abnormalities), plasma factors (reproductive steroid hormones, vitellogenin), and molecular (gene expression) indicators were included. This report describes the methods and preliminary results.

First posted February 28, 2014

  • Appendix 1 XLS (91.4 KB)
    Additional data for individual fish for Monitoring of Wild Fish Health at Selected Sites in the Great Lakes Basin: Methods and Preliminary Data

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Director, New Jersey Water Science Center
3450 Princeton Pike, Suite 110
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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Suggested citation:

Blazer, V.S., Mazik, P.M., Iwanowicz, L.R., Braham, Ryan, Hahn, Cassidy, Walsh, H.L., and Sperry, Adam, 2014, Monitoring of wild fish health at selected sites in the Great Lakes Basin—Methods and preliminary results: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1027, 44 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)





Results and Discussion

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

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