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Keywords:

  • Biomagnification;
  • Seasonality;
  • Climate change;
  • Persistent organic pollutants;
  • Trophic magnification factors

Abstract

Seasonality in biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs; polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated pesticides, and brominated flame retardants) in Arctic marine pelagic food webs was investigated in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs; average factor change in concentration between two trophic levels) were used to measure food web biomagnification in biota in May, July, and October 2007. Pelagic zooplankton (seven species), fish (five species), and seabirds (two species) were included in the study. For most POP compounds, highest TMFs were found in July and lowest were in May. Seasonally changing TMFs were a result of seasonally changing POP concentrations and the δ15N-derived trophic positions of the species included in the food web. These seasonal differences in TMFs were independent of inclusion/exclusion of organisms based on physiology (i.e., warm- versus cold-blooded organisms) in the food web. The higher TMFs in July, when the food web consisted of a higher degree of boreal species, suggest that future warming of the Arctic and increased invasion by boreal species can result in increased food web magnification. Knowledge of the seasonal variation in POP biomagnification is a prerequisite for understanding changes in POP biomagnification caused by climate change. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1026–1035. © 2011 SETAC