Great Lakes Region

NOAA divers and researchers sample mussels in Lake Ontario

NOAA Offices Partner to Monitor Water Quality in Lake Ontario

In October, NOAA divers collected zebra and quagga mussels at multiple sites around Lake Ontario as part of a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funded effort to characterize contaminants in Great Lakes Areas of Concern.  Researchers from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) collected these species in support of the NCCOS Mussel Watch Program. Zebra and Quagga mussels are an excellent tool for contaminant monitoring in the Great Lakes due to their high water-filtering capacity, propensity to bio-accumulate chemical contaminants with limited ability to metabolize them, sedentary habits, and widespread distribution on hard substrates in the region.

Over the winter, NOAA will analyze the mussels sampled for chemical contaminants including U.S. EPA priority pollutants and emerging chemicals of concern, microplastics, and biological health indicators of stress, such as DNA damage, abnormal metabolites, and other biomarkers.  The results of the analysis will also be predictive of the state of other Great Lakes species, such as sport fish and waterfowl.

This work was completed on Lake Ontario in conjunction with the Great Lakes Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative as part of the 2018  Lake Ontario field year which supports the needs of the Lake Ontario Lakewide Action and Management Plan under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

NOAA Facebook NOAA Twitter RSS Feed for this site Email Us NOAA's Flickr Feed