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Biological Magnification

After successfully participating

in this lab, you will be able to:
Describe the reasons DDT was used in
Identify the biological impact of DDT.
Explain biomagnification.
Compare herbicides, insecticides,
pesticides, and organic products.
Contrast food chains and food webs.

Food chain or food web?
10% Rule
10% Rule
This rule specifically refers to energy
transfer in a food chain. According to the
rule, only 10% of energy is transferred to
the next level of food chain, out of the
remaining 90%, some is used up
metabolically for survival and the rest is
lost as body heat.
What is DDT?
Chlorinated hydrocarbon
Considered highly toxic to insects, but
didnt (immediately) kill mammals or
Popular because it killed mosquitoes (who
spread malaria) and cockroaches (which
are human pests).
Background Information
DDT was discovered in the 1930s by Paul
Muller, a Swiss chemist
It was inexpensive, broad-spectrum,
persistent chemical that was extremely
toxic to insects but not to humans and
other mammals
It was used to control lice, mosquitoes,
spruce budworm and beetles, and to help
grow more economically productive crops.

In the 1950s Rachel Carson investigated the
effects of DDT on wildlife. Her book, Silent
Spring, chronicles a message that insecticides
can have dangerous environmental effects.
Rachel Carson has been credited with the
creation of the Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA worked to ban DDT in the early 1970s
DDT is still believed to be entering the Great
Lakes ecosystem through rainfall and dust
sources from halfway around the world, to this
The study of DDT provides a good
example of biological magnification or
biomagnification of the chemicals in the
Biomagnification is the accumulation of
higher and higher concentrations of
chemicals in individual organisms.
It occurs when a chemical is ingested and
cannot be broken down or excreted,
leading to accumulation of chemical that
they pass along a food chain.
Ecological Pyramid
Parts per million
Explains how the
Consumers eat
more than one
Crushed egg shell next to normal egg shell
DDT affected eggs
are crushed when sat
on by the mother bird
How does this affect us?
The Present
Many new pesticides are biologically based and
breakdown readily upon contact with soil or in
reaction to sunlight
Much more target-specific and less likely to
damage on-target organisms.
Persistence of a chemical is tested during the
pesticide registration process by the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency.
Long term effects and overall impact of new and
existing chemicals on ecosystems can only be
partially evaluated by current laboratory testing
The Biomagnification Game
Two difference food sources (hence, two
different colored Hersheys Kisses)