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Project ID:2006ND74B

Title: Stoichiometry and the Transfer of Mercury from Benthic Microinvertebrates into Game Fish

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: 1

Focus Categories: Ecology, Water Quality, Wetlands

Keywords: ecological stoichiometry, benthic invertebrates, lakes, fisheries

Principal Investigators: Butler, Malcolm George (North Dakota State University)

Federal Funds: $ 7,500

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 15,000

Abstract: Mercury (Hg) damages the central nervous system. Its effects are especially harmful to fetuses or infants during development of the nervous system. Hg emissions have continued to increase since the industrial revolution, entering aquatic food chains via atmospheric precipitation where they suspend in the water column and are uptaken by phytoplankton or settle to the bottom where they become available to bacteria. Phytoplankton, with acquired Hg, is either ingested by zooplankton or sinks to the substrate as detritus. In turn, detritus and bacteria provide a food source to macroinvertebrate benthic organisms (i.e., benthos) and bioaccumulation occurs up through trophic levels eventually to game fish that are consumed by humans. As a result, the EPA and various state agencies issue advisories for fish consumption where impairment occurs. This Fellowhsip research address taxonomy, stoichiometry, and benthic-pelagic coupling in the context of benthic contribution to Hg accumulation to fisheries in Minnesota and North Dakota lakes along a trophic gradient from oligotrophic to eutrophic. Anticipated results will provide applicable information for managers of mercury-susceptible systems.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Friday, January 18, 2008
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