Article

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 175-187

First online:

Temperature, growth and dietary effects on fish mercury dynamics in two Ontario lakes

  • Reed C. Harris
  • , R.A. (Drew) Bodaly

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Abstract

A bioenergetics-based model was used to investigate the effects of temperature, growth and dietary exposure on methylmercury dynamics in walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) from two lakes sampled in northwestern Ontario. Orange Lake was smaller, warmer, had slower fish growth and higher mercury concentrations in yearling yellow perch and walleye (three fold difference in 40 cm walleye) than Trout Lake. The model was applied to test the hypothesis that higher water temperatures in Orange Lake increased metabolic needs, food consumption and mercury uptake in fish. The effects of different growths rates in the lakes were also considered. Temperature/metabolic effects and growth effects on internal methylmercury dynamics in walleye and perch were predicted to occur but be of secondary importance. Different dietary exposure to methylmercury was likely the dominant source of variation in fish mercury concentrations between the two lakes.

bioenergetics fish mercury methylmercury models