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Methyl mercury in zooplankton: the role of size, habitat, and food quality
Kainz, M.; Lucotte, M.; Parrish, C.C. (2002). Methyl mercury in zooplankton: the role of size, habitat, and food quality. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 59(10): 1606-1615
In: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences = Journal canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques. National Research Council Canada: Ottawa. ISSN 0706-652X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Food composition; Habitat; Methyl mercury; Size; Zooplankton; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kainz, M., correspondent
  • Lucotte, M.
  • Parrish, C.C.

    Pathways of methyl mercury (MeHg) accumulation in zooplankton include ingestion of organic matter (OM). We analyzed fatty acid (FA) biomarkers in zooplankton to (i) investigate the effect of allochthonous and autochthonous OM ingestion on MeHg concentrations ([MeHg]) in zooplankton and (ii) examine how algal and bacterial food sources affect MeHg bioaccumulation. We partitioned bulk zooplankton samples (i.e., >500, 202, 100, and 53 μm) from Lake Lusignan (Québec) and measured [MeHg] and [FA] in each fraction. [MeHg] increased with increasing body size and was significantly higher in pelagic than in littoral macrozooplankton (>500 μm). The amount of the ingested terrestrial FA biomarker 24:0 indicated that less than 1% of the total FA in zooplankton was derived from allochthonous sources. More than 60% of the ingested FA originated from algal biomarkers and <10% from bacterial biomarkers. Relative amounts of algal-derived essential FA and bacterial FA were not associated with [MeHg] in any size fraction. In pelagic zones, the amount of MeHg in zooplankton related positively to the number of large organisms such as Calanoid copepods and Daphnia. We propose that the accumulation of MeHg in lacustrine zooplankton depends on the zooplankton habitat rather than on the quality of ingested food.

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