Biotransport of organic pollutants to an inland Alaska Lake by migrating Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticide DDT, known to harm wildlife, have been shown to reach pristine Subarctic and Arctic areas by global atmospheric transport. Another transport route for pollutant entry into these ecosystems is provided by migrating salmon. Pollutant transport was studied in a population of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Copper River, Alaska during their 410 km spawning migration. Pollutants accumulated by the salmon during their ocean life stage were not eliminated during migration, but were transported to the spawning lakes and accumulated in the freshwater food web there. The influence of the biotransported pollutants was investigated by comparing pollutant levels and compositions in atmospheric deposition as well as in two different populations of arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus). One grayling population was in the salmon spawning lake and the other in a nearby lake not hosting anadromous fish, but receiving pollutants only via atmospheric deposition. The grayling in the salmon spawning lake were found to have concentrations of organic pollutants more than two times higher than those of the grayling in the salmon-free lake, and the pollutant composition resembled that found in salmon. Thus, in the studied Alaska river system, biotransport was found to have a far greater influence than atmospheric input on the PCB and DDT levels in lake biota.

Details

Authors
  • Göran Ewald
  • Per Larsson
  • H Linge
  • Lennart Okla
  • N Szarzi
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
JournalArctic
Volume51
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes