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Role of chemical and ecological factors in trophic transfer of organic chemicals in aquatic food webs

Authors

  • Ronald W. Russell,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. The current address of R.W. Russell is Great Lakes Lab for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 867 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON L7R 4A6, Canada
    • School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada
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  • Frank A. P. C. Gobas,

    1. School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada
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  • G. Douglas Haffner

    1. Department of Biological Sciences and Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada
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Abstract

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.

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