Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Biology (M.S.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Dr. Mary Woller-Skar

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Luttenton,

Third Advisor

Joseph Bohr


A variety of anthropogenic factors, including global climate change and eutrophication, are causing increases in cyanobacterial abundance. Increased prevalence of cyanobacteria can be detrimental, as some genera of cyanobacteria have the ability to produce toxic secondary metabolites known as cyanotoxins. The cyanotoxin microcystin- a hepatotoxin, is the most ubiquitous and toxic cyanotoxin in freshwater ecosystems, and has been quantified in a number of aquatic organisms. Microcystin was quantified in 8 fish species from St. Mary’s River in June, Saginaw Bay in September, and from Stony Creek Lake in October in 2014 by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and findings were compared to current microcystin consumption advisories in order to determine what quantities of fish could be safely consumed. Total microcystin was determined in each sample with enzyme linked immuno sorbent assays and the total quantity of the microcystin variant microcystin-LR (the most toxic variant of microcystin) was determined with Liquid Chromatography coupled with tandem Mass Spectrometry. Results indicated that fish from these water bodies were well within established consumption limits. However, although results indicate that consumption need not be limited, findings from the present study should not be extrapolated beyond the specific time frames and locations studied, due to variability in environmental microcystin concentrations. Therefore, further research spanning long time frames and locations needs to be done in order to confidently determine safe fish consumption limits in regards to microcystin.

Included in

Biology Commons