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Biomagnification and bioaccumulation of mercury in an arctic marine food web: insights from stable nitrogen isotope analysis

Biomagnification and bioaccumulation of mercury in an arctic marine food web: insights from stable nitrogen isotope analysis,10.1139/cjfas-55-5-1114,C

Biomagnification and bioaccumulation of mercury in an arctic marine food web: insights from stable nitrogen isotope analysis   (Citations: 82)
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Several recent studies have shown that the use of δ15N analysis to characterize trophic relationships can be useful for tracing biocontaminants in food webs. In this study, concentration of total mercury was measured in tissues from 112 individuals representing 27 species from the arctic marine food web of Lancaster Sound, Northwest Territories. Samples ranged from particulate organic matter through polar bears ( Ursus maritimus). Using δ15N values to identify trophic position, we found that total mercury in muscle tissue biomagnified in this food web. Polar bears were a notable exception, having a lower mean mercury concentration than their main prey, ringed seals ( Phoca hispida). Most vertebrates showed greater variance in mercury concentration than invertebrates, and there was a trend in seabirds toward increased variability in mercury concentration with trophic position. Within species, we found no evidence of bioaccumulation of mercury with age in the muscle tissue of clams (Mya truncata) or ringed seals. Because stable nitrogen isotopes illustrated the relationship in this biome between trophic position and mercury level on a continuous, quantitative scale, we were able to determine that log 10(Hg) (μg/g dry weight) = 0.2(δ15N) - 3.3. The measurement of δ15N values and mercury concentration allowed us to quantitatively assess mercury biomagnification within this extensive arctic marine food web.
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    • ...Although Hg is partly re-emitted to the air, it is accumulated in organisms and biomagnified in the trophic chain in polar ecosystems (Atwell et al. 1998; Bargagli et al. 1998)...
    • ...predators feeding on high trophic levels usually show higher Hg concentrations than those feeding on lower levels (Atwell et al. 1998; Campbell et al. 2005)...

    Aurore Aubailet al. Investigation of mercury concentrations in fur of phocid seals using s...

    • ...Nitrogen-isotope ratios are commonly applied in trophic analyses, such as those examining the general structure of the Georges Bank food web (Fry 1988), or biomagnification of mercury (Atwell et al. 1998) or persistent organic pollutants (Fisk et al. 2001; Ruus et al. 2002) in marine food webs...

    Michael C. Newmanet al. High Mercury Concentrations Reflect Trophic Ecology of Three Deep-Wate...

    • ...bearded and harbour seals were lower than findings from other regions (Table 3). Ringed seals from the high Arctic were 2‐3% higher (Atwell et al. 1998; Hobson et al. 2002)...
    • ...Lancaster Sound 1988‐1990 Atwell et al. 1998...
    • ... seal muscle Hg fell between literature values of 0.09 lg/g from the Belcher Islands and 0.53 lg/g from Holman (Smith and Armstrong 1978) (Table 3). If we assume there are no direct local sources of Hg to influence spatial Arctic trends, then the lower Hg levels in ringed seals would support feeding at a lower trophic level or in a shorter food chain in Hudson Bay relative to Canadian and Alaskan reports (Smith and Armstrong 1978; Atwell et al. ...

    B. G. Younget al. Diet differences among age classes of Arctic seals: evidence from stab...

    • ...Long-lived obligate piscivores such as the common loon (Gavia immer) are considered important bioindicators of environmental Hg loads in North America (Evers 2006; Wolfe et al. 2007), because of the ability of methylmercury (MeHg) to biomagnify through the foodchain (Cabana and Rasmussen 1994; Atwell et al. 1998; Burgess and Hobson 2006) and bioaccumulate over an individual’s lifetime (Evers et al. 1998)...

    David C. Everset al. Adverse effects from environmental mercury loads on breeding common lo...

    • ...Stable isotopes have been used in previous studies to examine diet and the trophic level transfer of Hg (Atwell et al., 1998; Dehn et al., 2006b)...
    • ...At higher trophic levels, variability in top predator Hg was observed and attributed to diversity in foraging behaviour resulting from intra-species differences in sex or size, in addition to variation in seasonal prey abundance (Atwell etal.,1998).Atwelletal.(1998)foundHglevels in top predator muscle tissue may better reflect diet and to a lesser extent Hg bioaccumulation with age, supporting the need to understand dietary sources of Hg ...
    • ...Animal length, age, sex and body condition should be considered when examining predator Hg levels because they influence feeding behaviour (Atwell et al., 1998; Dehn et al., 2006b)...
    • ...Arctic cod from the Amundsen Gulf food web had higher Hg levels than did others in the same size range reported in the literature (Atwell et al., 1998; Campbell et al., 2005; Stern and Macdonald, 2005)...
    • ...The lack of a relationship between beluga age and muscle Hg concurs with previous marine mammal observations that muscle Hg concentrations may better reflect Hg biomagnification through diet, and to a lesser extent bioaccumulation over time (Wagemann et al., 1990; Atwell et al., 1998)...
    • ...slopes: 0.197 in Campbell et al., 2005; 0.2 in Atwell et al., 1998; 0.19 in Power et al., 2002)...
    • ...Total Hg BMFs from arctic cod to beluga in this study were comparable to the THg BMF value of 10 calculated for Lancaster Sound beluga feeding on arctic cod using δ15N and THg levels in Atwell et al. (1998)...

    L. L. Losetoet al. Linking mercury exposure to habitat and feeding behaviour in Beaufort ...

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