Title: Spatial and taxonomic variation of mercury concentration in low trophic level fauna from the Mediterranean Sea.
Authors: Buckman, Kate L; Lane, Oksana; Kotnik, Jože; Bratkic, Arne; Sprovieri, Francesca; Horvat, Milena; Pirrone, Nicola; Evers, David C; Chen, Celia Y
Published In Ecotoxicology, (2018 Dec)
Abstract: Studies of mercury (Hg) in the Mediterranean Sea have focused on pollution sources, air-sea mercury exchange, abiotic mercury cycling, and seafood. Much less is known about methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations in the lower food web. Zooplankton and small fish were sampled from the neuston layer at both coastal and open sea stations in the Mediterranean Sea during three cruise campaigns undertaken in the fall of 2011 and the summers of 2012 and 2013. Zooplankton and small fish were sorted by morphospecies, and the most abundant taxa (e.g. euphausiids, isopods, hyperiid amphipods) analyzed for methylmercury (MeHg) concentration. Unfiltered water samples were taken during the 2011 and 2012 cruises and analyzed for MeHg concentration. Multiple taxa suggested elevated MeHg concentrations in the Tyrrhenian and Balearic Seas in comparison with more eastern and western stations in the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial variation in zooplankton MeHg concentration is positively correlated with single time point whole water MeHg concentration for euphausiids and mysids and negatively correlated with maximum chlorophyll a concentration for euphausiids, mysids, and "smelt" fish. Taxonomic variation in MeHg concentration appears driven by taxonomic grouping and feeding mode. Euphausiids, due to their abundance, relative larger size, importance as a food source for other fauna, and observed relationship with surface water MeHg are a good candidate biotic group to evaluate for use in monitoring the bioavailability of MeHg for trophic transfer in the Mediterranean and potentially globally.
PubMed ID: 30315417
MeSH Terms: Environmental Monitoring*; Food Chain*; Mediterranean Sea; Mercury/analysis*; Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis*