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Publication Detail

Title: Methylmercury bioaccumulation in an urban estuary: Delaware River USA.

Authors: Buckman, Kate; Taylor, Vivien; Broadley, Hannah; Hocking, Daniel; Balcom, Prentiss; Mason, Rob; Nislow, Keith; Chen, Celia

Published In Estuaries Coast, (2017 Sep)

Abstract: Spatial variation in mercury (Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) bioaccumulation in urban coastal watersheds reflects complex interactions between Hg sources, land use, and environmental gradients. We examined MeHg concentrations in fauna from the Delaware River estuary, and related these measurements to environmental parameters and human impacts on the waterway. The sampling sites followed a north to south gradient of increasing salinity, decreasing urban influence, and increasing marsh cover. Although mean total Hg in surface sediments (top 4cm) peaked in the urban estuarine turbidity maximum and generally decreased downstream, surface sediment MeHg concentrations showed no spatial patterns consistent with the examined environmental gradients, indicating urban influence on Hg loading to the sediment but not subsequent methylation. Surface water particulate MeHg concentration showed a positive correlation with marsh cover whereas dissolved MeHg concentrations were slightly elevated in the estuarine turbidity maximum region. Spatial patterns of MeHg bioaccumulation in resident fauna varied across taxa. Small fish showed increased MeHg concentrations in the more urban/industrial sites upstream, with concentrations generally decreasing farther downstream. Invertebrates either showed no clear spatial patterns in MeHg concentrations (blue crabs, fiddler crabs) or increasing concentrations further downstream (grass shrimp). Best-supported linear mixed models relating tissue concentration to environmental variables reflected these complex patterns, with species specific model results dominated by random site effects with a combination of particulate MeHg and landscape variables influencing bioaccumulation in some species. The data strengthen accumulating evidence that bioaccumulation in estuaries can be decoupled from sediment MeHg concentration, and that drivers of MeHg production and fate may vary within a small region.

PubMed ID: 28970741 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

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