Muskellunge Management: Fifty Years of Cooperation Among Anglers, Scientists, and Fisheries Biologists

A Field Portable, Nonlethal Tissue Sampling Device for the Analysis of Harmful Environmental Contaminants in Muskellunge [Extended Abstract]

Vincent Bessonneau, Tijana Vasiljevic, and Janusz Pawliszyn


As top predators, the health of a Muskellunge Esox masquinongy population can be directly linked to the health of the supporting ecosystem and food chain. The Muskellunge is an ideal candidate for monitoring programs aimed at identifying environmental pollutants with adverse effects on the health and stability of water-based ecosystems because bioaccumulation and biomagnification effectively concentrate environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, in the tissues of top predators. As Muskellunge populations in many regions are dwindling due to loss of habitat and the environmental pressures associated with pollution, nonlethal and minimally invasive sampling techniques are required to ensure adequate sample collection while limiting the impact on the tested individual Muskellunge. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) fulfills both of these requirements due to the miniature nature of the sampling technology. As SPME is a diffusion-based sampling methodology, so the sampler, which is introduced by a hypodermic needle, simply needs to be exposed to the fish tissue to allow compounds contained within the tissue to then be extracted by the device (Bessonneau et al. 2016). The device is designed to remove a relatively small portion of compounds present in the tissue and therefore not disturb the organism under study. Once a predetermined sampling period has elapsed, normally in an order of minutes, the device can be removed from the Muskellunge and transported to a laboratory for analysis, having removed no tissue from the sampled fish. The great benefit of in vivo SPME is that it combines sampling, metabolite extraction, and metabolism quenching in one step, limiting loss and degradation of the sampled metabolites and small molecules (Pawliszyn 1997).