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Great Lakes Open Lakes Trend Monitoring Program

Great Lakes Open Lakes Trend Monitoring Program began as the sole component of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program. It was established in the late 1970s and has monitored contaminant trends in fish of the Great Lakes since that time.

The program has 10 permanent monitoring stations, and fish samples are collected at 5 stations per year, one in each Great Lake. The program aims to collect 50 top predators, limited to a strict size range, per station each year. Whole fish samples are combined for analysis into 10 composite samples or as a mega composite made up of all 50 fish from a single site to produce data that is representative of the lake or lake basin where the fish are collected.  

Many of the chemicals that are detected in Great Lakes fish have been eliminated from production and use or are currently being regulated.

A full list of chemical classes of interest to the Open Lake Trend Monitoring Program can be found below.

Routine Analysis
AnalyteHelpAnalyteThe element, ion, or compound that an analysis seeks to identify; the compound of interest. Lab
PCB congenerHelpcongenerAny isomer of a homologous series. (Homologous refers to a series of compounds whose structures differ by some regular increment.)s (143 congeners + coeluters) SUNY Oswego
Hg Clarkson University
Total PCB SUNY Oswego
Total HBCD*
*This compound is to be analyzed in both archived tissue, to be provided by EPA, and in routine samples collected as part of the GLFMSP.
Clarkson University
Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids Clarkson University
Mirex SUNY Oswego
Toxaphene and Homologs SUNY Fredonia
PBDEs (25 congeners) SUNY Oswego
pp DDT SUNY Oswego
pp DDE SUNY Oswego
pp DDD SUNY Oswego
Total DDT SUNY Oswego
PBB-153 SUNY Oswego
Perfluoroalkyl Acids Clarkson University
Percent Moisture Clarkson University
Fraction Lipid SUNY Oswego
Analyte Lab
Emerging Chemical Surveillance
Organophosphate Flame Retardants Clarkson University
Non-Legacy Incesticides Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Emerging Brominated Flame Retardants Southern Illinois University Carbondale
PCNs SUNY Oswego
Dechlorane Plus + Analogs Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Polychlorinated Dioxins / Furans SUNY Oswego
Halocarbozoles Southern Illinois University Carbondale
CO-Planar PCBs SUNY Oswego
HaloPAHs Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Synthetic Musks SUNY Fredonia
Bisphenol A + Derivatives Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Polybrominated Dioxins / Furans SUNY Oswego
Nonylphenol + Ethoxylates Clarkson University
Trace Metals Clarkson University

One of the most important parts of the Open Lakes Trend Monitoring Program is the ability to track the long term trend of chemicals in top predator fish. Trends have varied over time and by chemical due to chemical use and differences in each of the Great Lakes. By differences in the Great Lakes we mean things like presence of invasive species, changes in food web structure, and physical characteristics of the lakes. 

Some examples of chemical trends from the Open Lakes Trend Monitoring Program can be found below.