Terrestrial diet influences mercury bioaccumulation in zooplankton and macroinvertebrates in lakes with differing dissolved organic carbon concentrations.

08:00 EDT 13th March 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Terrestrial diet influences mercury bioaccumulation in zooplankton and macroinvertebrates in lakes with differing dissolved organic carbon concentrations."

Dietary uptake is a key step in conveying both toxic mercury (Hg; particularly as highly bioavailable methylmercury, MeHg) and essential dietary biochemicals, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), across trophic levels within aquatic food webs. Using stable isotopes and fatty acids we evaluated the role of food sources in size-fractioned plankton and littoral macroinvertebrates for the bioaccumulation of total Hg and MeHg in six oligotrophic and one mesotrophic Swedish lakes with differing concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). We found that the consumption of both algal and terrestrial diets (assessed by PUFA and long-chain saturated fatty acids, respectively) predicted >66% of the Hg concentration variability in meso- (100-500 μm) and macrozooplankton (>500 μm) in oligotrophic lakes. In the mesotrophic lake, total Hg bioaccumulation in higher trophic level biota, carnivorous macroinvertebrates was also significantly related to terrestrial diet sources (R = 0.65, p < 0.01). However, lake pH and DOC correlated to total Hg bioaccumulation and bioconcentration across all lakes, suggesting the consumption of different diet sources is mediated by the influence of lake characteristics. This field study reveals that using dietary biomarkers (stable isotopes and fatty acids) together with the physico-chemical lake parameters pH and nutrients together improve our ability to predict Hg bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs. Fatty acids used as dietary biomarkers provide correlative evidence of specific diet source retention in consumers and their effect on Hg bioaccumulation, while pH and nutrients are the underlying physico-chemical lake parameters controlling differences in Hg bioaccumulation between lakes.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The Science of the total environment
ISSN: 1879-1026
Pages: 821-832


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The first planet in order from the sun. It has no known natural satellites. It is one of the four inner or terrestrial planets of the solar system.

Stable mercury atoms that have the same atomic number as the element mercury, but differ in atomic weight. Hg-196, 198-201, and 204 are stable mercury isotopes.

Poisoning that results from chronic or acute ingestion, injection, inhalation, or skin absorption of MERCURY or MERCURY COMPOUNDS.

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A silver metallic element that exists as a liquid at room temperature. It has the atomic symbol Hg (from hydrargyrum, liquid silver), atomic number 80, and atomic weight 200.59. Mercury is used in many industrial applications and its salts have been employed therapeutically as purgatives, antisyphilitics, disinfectants, and astringents. It can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes which leads to MERCURY POISONING. Because of its toxicity, the clinical use of mercury and mercurials is diminishing.

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