Document Detail

Assessing element-specific patterns of bioaccumulation across New England lakes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22356871     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Little is known about differences among trace elements in patterns of bioaccumulation in freshwater food webs. Our goal was to identify patterns in bioaccumulation of different elements that are large and consistent enough to discern despite variation across lakes. We measured methylmercury (MeHg) and trace element (As, Cd, Hg, Pb, and Zn) concentrations in food web components of seven New England lakes on 3-5 dates per lake, and contrasted patterns of bioaccumulation across lakes, metals and seasons. In each lake, trace element concentrations were compared across trophic levels, including three size fractions of zooplankton, planktivorous fish, and piscivorous fish. The trophic position of each food web component was estimated from N isotope analysis. Trace element concentrations varied widely among taxa, lakes and sampling dates. Yet, we identified four consistent patterns of bioaccumulation that were consistent across lakes: (1) MeHg concentration increased (i.e., was biomagnified) and Pb concentration decreased (i.e., was biodiminished) with increased trophic position. (2) Zinc concentration (as with MeHg) was higher in fish than in zooplankton, but overall variation in Zn concentration (unlike MeHg) was low. (3) Arsenic and Cd concentrations (as with Pb) were lower in fish than in zooplankton, but (unlike Pb) were not significantly correlated with trophic position within zooplankton or fish groups. (4) Average summer concentrations of As, Pb, Hg, and MeHg in zooplankton significantly predicted their concentrations in either planktivorous or piscivorous fish. Our secondary goal was to review sampling approaches in forty-five published studies to determine the extent to which current sampling programs facilitate cross-lake and cross-study comparisons of bioaccumulation. We found that studies include different components of the food web and sample too infrequently to enable strong cross-lake and cross-study comparisons. We discuss sampling strategies that would improve our capacity to identify consistent patterns of bioaccumulation and drivers of elevated trace element concentrations under naturally high levels of variability.
Darren M Ward; Brandon Mayes; Stefan Sturup; Carol L Folt; Celia Y Chen
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2012-02-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Science of the total environment     Volume:  421-422     ISSN:  1879-1026     ISO Abbreviation:  Sci. Total Environ.     Publication Date:  2012 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-16     Completed Date:  2012-07-16     Revised Date:  2014-09-08    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330500     Medline TA:  Sci Total Environ     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  230-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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MeSH Terms
Environmental Monitoring / methods
Fishes / growth & development,  metabolism
Food Chain
Lakes / chemistry*
Metals, Heavy / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Methylmercury Compounds / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
New England
Trace Elements / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Zooplankton / growth & development,  metabolism
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Metals, Heavy; 0/Methylmercury Compounds; 0/Trace Elements; 0/Water Pollutants, Chemical

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