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Free Content Chlorinated Hydrocarbons in Mesopelagic Fishes of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

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Selected zooplankton collections and 1052 individuals representing 17 species of mesopelagic fishes from the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for concentrations of DDT and its metabolites, dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's). DDT and its metabolites were found in small but measurable concentrations (generally less than 0.01 ppm) in all but a few samples. Dieldrin occurred more sporadically but when found, was generally in somewhat higher concentrations than DDT and metabolites. PCB's were ubiquitous and concentrations were usually one to two orders of magnitude higher than measured pesticide residues. PCB concentrations were as high or higher than that reported from mid water fishes from other areas, and measured organochlorine "loads" were generally less than 1 ppm. No consistent geographic pattern was apparent.

Diets varied considerably among species of fish as did organochlorine concentrations, although copepods were usually the principal forage. Nonmigrating species living at considerable depth appeared to concentrate organochlorines comparable to those which undergo diel vertical migration.

The data tentatively suggest that dietary intake is an important organochlorine source for mesopelagic fishes and further imply a flow of energy out of the euphotic zone via oceanic food webs involving vertically migrating organisms.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1975

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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