• Mercury;
  • Plankton;
  • Biomagnification;
  • Eutrophication;
  • Site-specific


Total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations in four size fractions of plankton from three sampling stations in the Hg-contaminated and eutrophic Baihua Reservoir, Guizhou, China, were investigated for biomagnification and trophic transfer of Hg at different sites with various proximity to the major point sources of nutrients and metals. Total Hg concentrations in plankton of the various size fractions varied from 49 to 5,504 ng g−1 and MeHg concentrations ranged from 3 to 101 ng g−1. The percentage of Hg as MeHg varied from 0.16 to 70%. Total Hg and MeHg concentrations in plankton samples differed among the three sampling stations with different proximities from the major point sources. The plankton from the site closest to the dam contained the highest concentrations of MeHg. The successive increase of the ratios of MeHg to Hg from seston to macroplankton at all sites indicated that biomagnification is occurring along the plankton food web. However, biomagnification factors (BMF) for MeHg were low (1.5–2.0) between trophic levels. Concentrations of THg in seston decreased with an increase of chlorophyll concentrations, suggesting a significant dilution effect by the algae bloom for Hg. Eutrophication dilution may be a reason for lower MeHg accumulation by the four size classes of plankton in this Hg-contaminated reservoir. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:2739–2747. © 2011 SETAC