Mercury bioaccumulation in the Mediterranean
1 CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Division of Rende, Rende, Italy
2 CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Monterotondo Scalo, Italy
3 Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
This study details mercury pollution within the food chain of the Mediterranean by analysing the most comprehensive mercury dataset available for biota and water measurements. In this study we computed a bioaccumulation factor (BAF) for datasets in the existing mercury-related scientific literature, in on-going programs, and in past measurement campaigns. Preliminary results indicate a major lack of information, making the outcome of any assessment very uncertain. Importantly, not all marine eco-regions are (or have ever been) covered by measurement campaigns. Most lacking is information associated with the South-Eastern part of the Mediterranean, and in several eco-regions it is still impossible to reconstruct a trophic net, as the required species were not accounted for when mercury measurements were taken. The datasets also have additional temporal sampling problems, as species were often not sampled systematically (but only sporadically during any given sampling period). Moreover, datasets composed of mercury concentrations in water also suffer from similar geographic limitations, as they are concentrated in the North-Western Mediterranean. Despite these concerns, we found a very clear bioaccumulation trend in 1999, the only year where comprehensive information on both methylmercury concentrations in water and biota was available.
Key words: heavy metals / marine eco-regions / food web / mercury pollution / trophic level
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
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