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Ontogenetic dynamics of mercury accumulation in Northwest Atlantic sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)

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We examined the ontogenetic dynamics of mercury accumulation in sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) from the Connecticut River, USA. Mercury concentrations in eggs (mean 84 ng·g–1 wet weight) were lowest of all life stages and correlated to concentrations in females. There was a higher rate of maternal transfer of mercury to eggs compared with teleosts. Ammocoetes had high mercury concentrations for their trophic level (e.g., mean of age-4 ammocoetes 492 ng·g–1 wet weight). A further investigation of four streams showed that ammocoetes reflected the level of contamination in their nursery streams. Concentrations of mercury decreased during metamorphosis from ammocoete to adult. Mercury concentrations in adults ranged from 83 to 942 ng·g–1 wet weight and, unlike teleosts, showed no relation to sex, length, or weight. We provide evidence from stable isotope analyses that this high variability is due to feeding ecology. There are fundamental differences in mercury accumulation between sea lamprey and teleosts.

Nous avons étudié la dynamique de l'ontogenèse de l'accumulation du mercure chez la grande lamproie marine (Petromyzon marinus) dans le fleuve Connecticut, É.-U. De tous les stades du cycle biologique, c'est dans l'oeuf que les concentrations de mercure (moyenne de 84 ng·g–1 de masse humide) sont les plus basses et elles sont en corrélation avec les concentrations chez les femelles. Le taux de transfert maternel de mercure aux oeufs est plus élevé que chez les téléostéens. Les ammocètes possèdent de fortes concentrations de mercure (par exemple, moyenne chez les ammocètes d'âge 4 de 492 ng·g–1 de masse humide), compte tenu de leur niveau trophique. Une étude complémentaire de quatre cours d'eau montre que les ammocètes reflètent le niveau de contamination de leur cours d'eau d'élevage. Les concentrations de mercure diminuent durant la métamorphose de l'ammocète à l'adulte. Les concentrations de mercure chez les adultes varient de 83 à 942 ng·g–1 de masse humide et, contrairement à ce qu'on observe chez les téléostéens, elles ne sont pas reliées au sexe, à la longueur, ni à la masse. Des analyses des isotopes stables indiquent que cette forte variabilité s'explique par l'écologie de l'alimentation. Il y a donc des différences fondamentales entre l'accumulation du mercure chez les grandes lamproies marines et chez les téléostéens.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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