Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15422–15435 | Cite as

Zinc in an ultraoligotrophic lake food web

  • Juan Cruz Montañez
  • María A. Arribére
  • Andrea Rizzo
  • Marina Arcagni
  • Linda Campbell
  • Sergio Ribeiro Guevara
Research Article


Zinc (Zn) bioaccumulation and trophic transfer were analyzed in the food web of Lake Nahuel Huapi, a deep, unpolluted ultraoligotrophic system in North Patagonia. Benthic macroinvertebrates, plankton, and native and introduced fish were collected at three sites. The effect of pyroclastic inputs on Zn levels in lacustrine food webs was assessed by studying the impact of the eruption of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) in 2011, by performing three sampling campaigns immediately before and after the PCCVC eruption, and after 2 years of recovery of the ecosystem. Zinc trophodynamics in L. Nahuel Huapi food web was assessed using nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N). There was no significant increase of Zn concentrations ([Zn]) in L. Nahuel Huapi biota after the PCCVC eruption, despite the evidence of [Zn] increase in lake water that could be associated with volcanic ash leaching. The organisms studied exhibited [Zn] above the threshold level considered for dietary deficiency, regulating Zn adequately even under a catastrophic situations like PCCVC 2011 eruption. Zinc concentrations exhibited a biodilution pattern in the lake’s food web. To the best of our knowledge, present research is the first report of Zn biodilution in lacustrine systems, and the first to study Zn transfer in a freshwater food web including both pelagic and benthic compartments.


Plankton Macroinvertebrate Fish Nitrogen stable isotopes Lake Nahuel Huapi North Patagonia 



The authors wish to express their gratitude to the staff of the Reactor RA–6 (Centro Atómico Bariloche), and the Queen’s University Facility for Isotope Research for their assistance in sample analysis. This work was partially supported by the projects PICT 2005-33838, PICT 2006-1051, and PICT 2012-1720 of the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (Argentina), project Cod. 06/C414 (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo), and by the International Atomic Agency, project TCA-ARG/7/006.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1725_MOESM1_ESM.docx (55 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 54 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Análisis por Activación NeutrónicaCentro Atómico Bariloche, CNEABarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Centro Científico Tecnológico CONICET Patagonia NorteBarilocheArgentina
  3. 3.Instituto Balseiro, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and Comisión Nacional de Energía AtómicaBarilocheArgentina
  4. 4.Faculty of ScienceSaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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