Persistent organic pollutants in river food webs: influence of trophic position and degree of heterotrophy

Olof Berglund, Per Nyström, Per Larsson

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We investigated how the degree of autotrophy/heterotrophy and organism trophic position influenced the bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in 10 benthic river food webs consisting of terrestrial detritus, periphyton, invertebrates, and age-0 brown trout (Salmo trutta) in southern Sweden. Concentrations of PCBs increased with trophic position, estimated from delta(15)N and delta(13)C, on a dry weight basis (ng center dot g(-1) dry weight) but not on a lipid weight basis (ng center dot g(-1) lipid). PCB biomagnification factors between the first and second trophic levels (invertebrates/ periphyton and invertebrates/detritus) ranged between 0.3 and 2.3 and between the second and third levels (trout/invertebrates) between 0.3 and 2.0 on a lipid weight basis. The mean proportion of carbon ultimately derived from terrestrial sources, alpha, was 0.82 +/- 0.19 for invertebrates and 0.67 +/- 0.28 for trout. Contrary to our hypothesis, PCB concentrations in trout were positively related to alpha (r(2) = 0.58-0.77, p < 0.05). As alpha and the periphyton density (g C center dot m(-2)) in the rivers was positively related (r(2) = 0.88, p < 0.01), we propose that this relationship was due to an increased retention and exposure of PCBs to trout in rivers with low grazing pressure and high periphyton density.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2032
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


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