Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 39–73 | Cite as

Young northern pike, yellow perch and crayfish as bioindicators in a mercury contaminated watercourse

  • J. W. Parks
  • C. Curry
  • D. Romani
  • D. D. Russell


Young-of-the-year and yearling northern pike (Esox lucius), yearling yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and adult crayfish (Orconectes virilis) were collected in the mercury-contaminated Wabigoon/English/Winnipeg River System, Ontario, and analyzed for total mercury. Analysis of mercury concentrations in these organisms produced consistent geographical trends; i.e. mercury concentrations in biota downstream of Dryden > English River system > Winnipeg River system > control sites. In the Wabigoon River system the bioavailability of mercury increases with distance downstream of the historical point source. Mercury concentrations in the biota studied were highly correlated with mercury concentrations in fish species which are of sport and commercial interest. The locations where young fish obtain their bodyburdens are known typically within 100 m. The biota studied compare favourably with the criteria proposed by Phillips (1980) as prerequisites for biological indicators. The wide distribution of young pike, perch and crayfish in North America, Europe and Asia may enhance their appeal as biomonitors.


Mercury North America Fish Species Point Source River System 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Parks
    • 1
  • C. Curry
    • 2
  • D. Romani
    • 3
  • D. D. Russell
    • 4
  1. 1.Ontario Ministry of the EnvironmentThunder BayCanada
  2. 2.Curry Jefferson Environmental ServicesPort PerryCanada
  3. 3.TorontoCanada
  4. 4.Ontario Ministry of the Environment LaboratoryRexdaleCanada

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