Heavy metals and stable isotopes in a benthic omnivore in a trophic gradient of lakes

Per Larsson, Niklas Holmqvist, Patrik Stenroth, Olof Berglund, Per Nyström, Wilhelm Granéli

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Heavy metals (Cd, Hg, and Pb) and stable isotopes (N-15, C-13) in crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) were studied in a trophic gradient of lakes (N = 19) in southern Sweden. Trophic indicators of the lakes as total phosphorus (tot-P) varied from 5 to 93 mu g/L. The examined lakes had no known point sources of heavy metals, but the catchment areas varied from mainly forested to agricultural land. Cd and Hg in crayfish were affected by the trophic status of the lakes, showing significant negative relationship with tot-P, total nitrogen, and chlorophyll A content and a positive relationship with lake transparency (Secchi depth). The concentration of these two heavy metals was thus higher in crayfish in the oligotrophic lakes and decreased linearly to the eutrophic ones. Pb was not related to any lake variable. Stable isotopes of carbon (delta C-13) and nitrogen (615N) in crayfish were a reflection of that found in the sediment as shown by positive linear relationships for the lakes. In the sediment of the lakes, delta C-13 signature showed significant negative relationships with the trophic indicators but positive results were shown for lake transparency. The trophic gradient of the lakes was reflected by delta C-13 in the sediment and in the crayfish. 615N in crayfish was a reflection of 615N in the sediment but the relationship was not coupled to the trophic statue of the lakes. The results from the study show that Cd and Hg in benthic omnivores as crayfish are affected by ecological processes in lakes, such as eutrophication. Stable isotopes, such as 13C and 15 N, can be used to study these ecological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5973-5979
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • lake
  • crayfish
  • stable isotopes
  • heavy metals


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