Navigation Links
Where have all the lake eels gone? Queen's prof asks

KINGSTON, Ont. A Queens University environmental scientist will head a new international study to determine whether American eels the slimy, snake-like fish considered worldwide to be a food delicacy are dying from chemical pollution in Lake Ontario.

Biology professor Peter Hodson and his team of toxicologists and chemists have received $536,450 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to solve the mystery of Lake Ontarios disappearing eel population.

Declared a species of concern under Canadas new Species at Risk Act, American eels have until recently supported a multi-million-dollar historic fishery in Ontario and an even larger industry in Quebec. But with rapidly decreasing numbers of eels, the Ontario fishery has been closed and the Quebec fishery is in serious decline.

A prime suspect in the case of the missing fish is the accumulation of toxic chemicals by the parent eels as they feed, grow, and mature in polluted freshwater lakes and streams, says Dr. Hodson. Our task will be to determine whether female eels transfer sufficient chemicals to their offspring to cause their death before reaching Lake Ontario.

The team hopes to learn whether chemicals have played a role in the decline of the eel, whether some lakes and rivers are better than others for re-stocking with juvenile eels, which chemicals are the bad actors and whether eels pose a hazard to human consumers.

American eels begin their lives as eggs hatching in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. They take years to reach freshwater streams where they mature to a length of up to a metre before returning to their birth waters to spawn and die. However, since the mid 1980s there has been a spectacular drop in the numbers of juvenile eels migrating to Lake Ontario from the Sargasso Sea, and a corresponding decline in the numbers of adults.

The loss of eels is significant from an economic, cultural, and ecological perspective, says Dr. Hodson, adding that the impact on other fish species in Lake Ontario of removing a top predator has yet to be recognized.

Most of the harvest of American eels is exported to a global market, particularly to Western Europe and Asia where they are smoked, jellied, marinated, and even served raw as sushi. They are so highly prized that prices are rising as supplies dwindle.

The Queens-led research team will study eels from both clean and polluted habitats, as well as those stored frozen since the 1980s. They will compare the concentrations and toxicity of chemicals in the tissues of eel among different habitats and provide a perspective on past contamination.


Contact: Nancy Dorrance
Queen's University

Related biology news :

1. Easton, PA Police Officers Armed With BIO-key(R) Mobile Data Solution Access Information Anytime, Anywhere
2. Where does stored nuclear waste go?
3. For honey bee queens, multiple mating makes a difference
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/27/2015)... , October 27, 2015 ... Automated Semantic Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data ... Eye Tracking Glasses , so that they can ... --> Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , October 26, 2015 ... --> adds Biometrics Market ... 2021 as well as Emerging Biometrics ... reports to its collection of IT ... . --> ...
(Date:10/26/2015)...  Delta ID Inc., a company focused on bringing ... devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® technology powers the iris recognition ... by NTT DOCOMO, INC in Japan ... to include iris recognition technology, after a very successful ... May 2015, world,s first smartphone to have this capability. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), affirms that its business and prospects remain ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB ... program to completion following review of the final ... met Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 The ... is a professional and in-depth study on the ...      (Logo: ) , ... industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain ... the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or "the ... results for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. ... dollars and presented under International Financial Reporting Standards ... ," said Andrew Rae , President & ... are not only value enriching for this clinical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: