Mercury accumulation, and the mercury-PCB-sex interaction, in lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)

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We determined whole-fish Hg concentrations of 26 female and 34 male adult lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) from northern Lake Huron captured during November 2010. Subsampling from these 60 fish, Hg concentration was also determined in both the somatic tissue and ovaries (n=5), while methylmercury (MeHg) concentration was determined in whole fish (n=18). Bioenergetics modeling was used to assess the growth dilution effect on the difference in Hg concentrations between the sexes. Mean whole-fish Hg concentration in females (59.9 ng/g) was not significantly different from mean whole-fish Hg concentration in males (54.4 ng/g). MeHg accounted for 91% of the mercury found in the lake whitefish. Bioenergetics modeling results indicated that the growth dilution effect did not contribute to a difference in Hg concentration between the sexes. We estimated that females increased in Hg concentration by 17.9%, on average, immediately after spawning due to release of eggs. Using PCB data for the same 60 lake whitefish from a previous study, we detected a significant interaction between sex and contaminant type (Hg or PCBs), which was attributable to males being significantly higher in PCB concentration than females. Males may be eliminating Hg at a faster rate than females.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury accumulation, and the mercury-PCB-sex interaction, in lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)
Series title Environments
DOI 10.3390/environments3010007
Volume 3
Issue 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Molecular Diversity Preservation International
Publisher location Basel, Switzerland
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center, Contaminant Biology Program
Description 16 p.
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Lake Huron
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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