Lifetime chronicles of selenium exposure linked to deformities in an imperiled migratory fish

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 



Aquatic ecosystems worldwide face growing threats from elevated levels of contaminants from human activities. Toxic levels of selenium (Se) shown to cause deformities in birds, fish, and mammals can transfer from parents to progeny during embryonic development or accumulate through Se-enriched diets. For migratory species that move across landscapes, tracking exposure to elevated Se is vital to mitigating vulnerabilities. Yet, traditional toxicological investigations resolve only recent Se exposure. Here, we use a novel combination of X-ray fluorescence microscopy and depositional chronology in a biomineral to reveal for the first time provenance, life stage, and duration of toxic Se exposure over the lifetime of an organism. Spinal deformities observed in wild Sacramento Splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus), an imperiled migratory minnow, were attributed to elevated Se acquired through maternal transfer and juvenile feeding on contaminated prey. This novel approach paves the way for diagnosing sources, pathways, and potential for a cumulative exposure of Se relevant for conservation.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Lifetime chronicles of selenium exposure linked to deformities in an imperiled migratory fish
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b06419
Volume 54
Issue 5
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) WMA - Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Description 10 p.
First page 2892
Last page 2901
Country United States
State California
City Byron
Other Geospatial San Joaquin River
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