Cristol_et_al._Science_2008_[1]

Cristol_et_al._Science_2008_[1] - BREVIA fish 0.15 0.09 ppm...

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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 species breeding within 50 m of the river ( 4 ). We compared 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 sampled adults 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 blood mercury ranging from 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm) (wet weight), about the level of adverse ef- fects ( 5 ). Two terrestrial songbirds species, a wren and a vireo, had the highest blood mercury levels of
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