Mercury accumulation and the mercury-PCB-sex interaction in summer flounder

Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
By: , and 

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Abstract

Patterns in the relative differences in contaminant concentrations between the sexes of mature fish may reveal important behavioral and physiological differences between the sexes. We determined whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations in 23 female summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) and 27 male summer flounder from New Jersey coastal waters. To estimate the change in Hg concentration due to release of eggs at spawning, Hg concentration in the somatic tissue and ovaries of 5 of the 23 female summer flounder were also determined. To ascertain whether most of the Hg in the summer flounder was methylmercury (MeHg), whole-fish MeHg concentrations were determined in all 50 summer flounder. Whole-fish Hg concentrations averaged 113 ng/g for females and 111 ng/g for males. Thus, females were 2% higher in Hg concentration than males, on average, but the difference was not statistically significant. Based on Hg determinations in the somatic tissue and ovaries, we predicted that Hg concentration of females would increase by 3.6%, on average, immediately after spawning due to release of eggs. On average, 92% of the Hg in the summer flounder was MeHg. To determine whether the effect of sex on Hg concentration was significantly different from the effect of sex on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration, we paired our Hg determinations with PCB determinations from a previous study, and applied regression analysis. Sex significantly interacted with contaminant type (Hg or PCBs), as males were 43% higher in PCB concentration than females, whereas females were 2% higher in Hg concentration than males. Males eliminating Hg from their bodies at a faster rate than females was a likely explanation for this discrepancy between the two contaminant types. Overall, the Hg and PCB concentrations in the summer flounder were relatively low, and therefore our findings also had implications for continued operation of the summer flounder fishery.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury accumulation and the mercury-PCB-sex interaction in summer flounder
Series title Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
DOI 10.4172/2155-9910.1000188
Volume 6
Issue 2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher OMICS International
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center, Contaminant Biology Program
Description Article 188; 7 p.
First page 1
Last page 7
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N