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Bioaccumulation of mercury in pelagic fishes from the northern Gulf of Mexico

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Total mercury (Hg) concentration was determined in the tissues of 10 pelagic fishes in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and dietary tracers (stable isotopes and fatty acids) were used to evaluate the relationship between Hg and feeding history. Highest Hg levels were observed in blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), carcharhinid sharks (Carcha rhinus spp.), and little tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), ranging from 1.08 to 10.52 ppm. Moderate to low concentrations (<1.0 ppm) were observed in blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), dolphinfish (Cory phaena hippurus), greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), wahoo (Acantho cybium solandri), and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). For the majority of species examined, Hg concentrations did not vary significantly between location (Texas vs. Louisiana) or collection period (2002 and 2003). Significant positive relationships between Hg concentration and body size and (or) weight were detected for 6 of the 10 taxa examined. Hg concentration was also positively associated with trophic position. Three natural associations were identified using stable isotope and fatty acid signatures. Still, no connection between these natural trophic associations and Hg concentration was observed, suggesting that Hg concentration in pelagic fishes was more closely linked to trophic position and size than feeding history.

Nous avons déterminé les concentrations de mercure total (Hg) dans les tissus de 10 poissons pélagiques du nord du golfe du Mexique et utilisé des traceurs alimentaires (isotopes stables et acides gras) pour évaluer les relations entre Hg et l'histoire alimentaire. Les concentrations d'Hg les plus fortes s'observent chez le makaire bleu (Makaira nigricans), les requins carcharinidés (Carcharhinus spp.) et la thonine commune (Euthynnus alletteratus) et elles varient de 1,08 à 10,52 ppm. Les concentrations moyennes à faibles (<1,0 ppm) se retrouvent chez le thon à nageoires noires (Thunnus atlanticus), le cobia (Rachycentron canadum), la coryphène (Coryphaena hippurus), la sériole couronnée (Seriola dumerili), le tassard royal (Scomberomorus cavalla), le tassard bâtard (Acanthocybium solandri) et l'albacore à nageoires jaunes (Thunnus albacares). Chez la plupart des espèces examinées, les concentrations d'Hg ne varient pas significativement d'un endroit à une autre (Texas et Louisiane) ou d'une année à l'autre (2002 et 2003). Nous trouvons des relations positives significatives entre la concentration d'Hg et la taille et (ou) la masse du corps chez 6 des 10 taxons étudiés. Il y a aussi une corrélation positive entre la concentration d'Hg et le niveau trophique. Les signatures d'isotopes stables et d'acides gras révèlent trois associations naturelles. Néanmoins, nous ne trouvons aucun lien entre ces associations trophiques naturelles et les concentrations d'Hg, ce qui laisse croire que les concentrations d'Hg chez les poissons pélagiques sont plus intimement reliées à la position trophique et à la taille qu'à l'histoire alimentaire.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • 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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