The Movement of Aquatic Mercury Through Terrestrial Food Webs Daniel A. Cristol, * Rebecka L. Brasso, Anne M. Condon, Rachel E. Fovargue, Scott L. Friedman, Kelly K. Hallinger, Adrian P. Monroe, Ariel E. White M ercury is a persistent contaminant that biomagnifies up the food web, caus-ing mortality, reproductive failure, and other health effects in predatory wildlife and humans ( 1 , 2 ). From 1930 to 1950, industrial mer-curic sulfate entered the South River, a tributary of the Shenandoah River in Virginia (United States) ( 3 ). To determine whether this mercury contamina-tion had moved into the adjacent terrestrial food web, we analyzed total mercury concentrations in blood from adults of 13 terrestrial-feeding bird spec iesbreed ingw i th in50mofther ive r( 4). Wecompared these to breeding adults of the same species at uncontaminated reference sites (Fig. 1A). Twelve species had significantly higher mercury than that found in individuals from reference sites (Fig. 1B and table S1). We simultaneously sampledadults of five bird species with direct dietary con- nections to the aquatic mercury; their mercury con- centrations were also significantly elevated relative to reference birds (Fig. 1B and table S1). With the exception of a duck species, all aquatic birds had
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