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Concentration of mercury and other metals in an Arctic planktonic food web under a climate warming scenario

New publication by Abraham Asiedu DAA, Søndergaard J, Jonasdottir S, Juul-Pedersen T, Koski M.


Arctic marine ecosystems act as a global sink of mercury (Hg) and other metals, and high concentrations of these have been measured in higher trophic-level organisms. Nevertheless, the concentrations of metals at the basis of the marine food web in the Arctic is less known despite the likelihood of biomagnification from dietary sources. We investigated the concentrations of mercury (Hg) and other metals in different size fractions of plankton in West Greenland. All size fractions contained detectable levels of Hg (ranging from 4.8 to 241.3 ng g dw−1) at all stations, although with high geographic variability, likely reflecting the sources of mercury (e.g., meltwater). In many cases, the concentrations in the larger-size fractions were lower than in the smaller-size fractions, suggesting depuration through the metabolic activity of mesozooplankton. Concentrations of Cd, Pb, V, Ni, and Cr were higher than previously reported elsewhere in the Arctic.