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Differences in Methylmercury and Inorganic Mercury Biomagnification in a Tropical Marine Food Web

Abstract

Methylmercury (MeHg), inorganic mercury (Hginorg) and their biomagnification factors (BMF) were evaluated along a non-degraded Brazilian bay food web. Highly significant differences (p < 0.0001) were found between MeHg and Hginorg concentrations among all organisms (microplankton, shrimp, fish and dolphin). MeHg increased with increasing trophic position while Hginorg did not present the same pattern. BMF values for MeHg were higher than 1 for all trophic interactions from source to consumer, indicating that MeHg was transferred more efficiently and biomagnified over the entire web. Only one BMF exceeding one was observed for Hginorg (27) between microplankton and their consumer, planktivorous fish. BMF values for Hginorg were significantly different than those found for MeHg (20) at the base of the food web.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the financial support of the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ Proc 101976/2009), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

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Correspondence to Tércia G. Seixas.

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Seixas, T.G., Moreira, I., Siciliano, S. et al. Differences in Methylmercury and Inorganic Mercury Biomagnification in a Tropical Marine Food Web. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92, 274–278 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-014-1208-7

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Keywords

  • Trophic transfer
  • Tropical ecosystem
  • Marine biota
  • South Atlantic Ocean
  • Oligotrophic ecosystem