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Heavy Metal Contents of Lake Macatawa Fish

Project Full Title:

Analyzing the Heavy Metal Content in the Tissue of Fish from Lake Macatawa

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Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Geology, Environmental Science and Chemistry. The project is based in the Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences. This study is a continuation of a project started in the summer of 2019, in which 184 fish were taken from Lake Macatawa and the Black River from 6 different locations between July and November, 2019; 85 fish were analyzed as target species (Channel Catfish and Yellow Perch). Fish tissues were analyzed for 14 different metals, including Antimony (Sb), Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cadmium (Cd), Cerium (Ce), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se), and Zinc (Zn). Metal concentrations in yellow perch tissues were found to be statistically higher than the results of one study which reported averages for yellow perch in the Great Lakes Area. Metal concentrations measured were similar to values reported from lakes in Ontario with a high potential for metal contamination. The recommended next step in this project is to analyze fresh water drum (a.k.a., sheephead), Aplodinotus grunniens, for heavy metals, including mercury (Hg). A longer term project will be to incorporate data from perch, catfish and sheephead into a systematic investigation of the bottom sediment chemistry at the six sampling locations. This integrated information would provide a basis of understanding to help determine the potential anthropogenic sources of metal contamination in Lake Macatawa. This project is only open to Hope College students and is contingent upon receiving funding (pending).

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