Mercury in Hydrobionts and Their Habitat in Grønfjorden, West Spitsbergen, in Early Springtime
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The first data were obtained on the total mercury content in hydrobionts and their habitat in Grønfjorden, Spitsbergen, at the waste discharge sites of the settlement of Barentsburg in early spring 2017. The Hg concentration was below the detection limit in the water and varied from 7.1 to 42.3 ng/g of dry weight in the bottom sediments. Mercury concentration in the hydrobionts increased toward the inner fjord and was higher near the mouth of the Grøndalen River, which flows into the fjord. Elevated Hg concentrations at the mouth of the Grøndalen River indicate that much of the toxic metal is brought to the inner part of the fjord with riverine runoff, and this Hg source is likely more important than the surface supply of Hg transferred from local surface pollution centers at Barentsburg. The Hg concentration depended on the position of the marine organisms in the trophic chain and was the highest in the detritophage mollusks Thyasira gouldi, Cardium sp., and Macoma calcarea, the specialized predatory sea snail Cryptonatica affinis, and the cod Gadus morhua, which is a benthosophage–secondary predator. The total Hg concentrations in the hydrobionts and their habitat in Grønfjorden were generally relatively low and close to the background one.
Keywordshydrobionts Hg pollution Grønfjorden Spitsbergen Arctic
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