• Food web;
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls;
  • 2,2-Bis(p-chloropheny)-1,1-dichloroethylene;
  • Community structure;
  • Biomagnification


Trophic transfer of chlorinated organic contaminants was investigated in an aquatic community composed of zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish. Biomagnification, measured as the increase in lipid-based chemical concentrations in predator over that in prey, was observed for high-Kow chemicals (logKow > 6.3). Low-Kow chemicals (log Kow < 5.5) did not biomagnify in the food web, and chemicals with log Kow between 5.5 and 6.3 showed some evidence of biomagnification. Trophic level differences in chemical accumulation in the food web could not be attributed to bioconcentration into increasing trophic levels with increasing lipid levels, as no relationship was observed between trophic position and lipid content of organisms. Plots of contaminant-ordinated principal component scores in component space predicted the detailed diets of the species examined. It is concluded that (1) trophic interactions play a crucial role in the distribution of high-Kow chemicals but not for low-Kow chemicals and that (2) contaminant distributions provide a means to determine structure in aquatic communities.