Enhanced bioaccumulation of mercury in deep-sea fauna from the Bay of Biscay (north-east Atlantic) in relation to trophic positions identified by analysis of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes

Abstract : The Bay of Biscay (north-east Atlantic) is an open marine ecosystem of particular concern in current European environmental policies. Indeed, it supports both a high biological diversity and numerous anthropogenic activities such as important fisheries. For the first time, stable isotope analyses (SIA) of carbon and nitrogen and analysis of total mercury (T-Hg) concentrations in the muscle (edible flesh) were performed on adult stages of a wide range of species (i.e., 120 species) from various taxa and various habitats of this ecosystem. Concentrations of this non-essential metal, toxic to all living organisms, ranged from 39 to 5074 ng.g-1 dry weight. Calculations of species' trophic positions (TPs) through SIA revealed a limited effect of TP in explaining Hg bioaccumulation by high trophic level consumers in particular. On the contrary, our results suggest an important role of habitat and/or feeding zone, which strongly influence muscle Hg bioaccumulation. Deep-sea fish species effectively presented the highest Hg concentrations. Possible interactions between biological factors (e.g., age of deep-sea organisms) and bioavailability of the metal in the deep-sea environment are discussed to explain such enhanced bioaccumulation of Hg by deep-sea fauna in the Bay of Biscay. This study also highlights a potential risk for human health when deep-sea fish are consumed frequently.
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Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Elsevier, 2012, 65, pp.113-124. 〈10.1016/j.dsr.2012.02.010〉
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Tiphaine Chouvelon, Jérôme Spitz, Florence Caurant, Paula Mèndez-Fernandez, Julien Autier, et al.. Enhanced bioaccumulation of mercury in deep-sea fauna from the Bay of Biscay (north-east Atlantic) in relation to trophic positions identified by analysis of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Elsevier, 2012, 65, pp.113-124. 〈10.1016/j.dsr.2012.02.010〉. 〈hal-00694521〉

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