Mercury Bioaccumulation in Bluegill and Largemouth Bass From a Hunting and Fishing Site in South Carolina, USA

Monday, September 9, 2013
Governor's Hall I (trade show) (Statehouse Convention Center)
Brandy Bossle , Biology - Environmental Restoration and Remediation Program, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC
Virginia Shervette , Department of Biology and Geology, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC
John Dean , Baruch Institute, University of South Carolina
Angela H. Lindell , Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Aiken, SC
Gary Mills , Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Aiken, SC
Understanding the impacts of contaminants such as mercury on fish species is an important step in the ultimate goal of conservation biology. Additionally, quantifying the temporal trends of contaminant concentrations within a potential source of exposure to humans will aid in future public health campaigns. Fish provide a nutritious source of protein and other essential nutrients so exploring ways to continue to promote fish consumption and at the same time avoid exposure to high amounts of mercury is important.  We examined how bioaccumulation of mercury in muscle tissues relates to age, sex, and size of two centrarchid species from an isolated pond in South Carolina.  In general, both species exhibited low concentrations of total mercury.  Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus had a total mercury concentration range of 0.02-0.25 ppm and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides had a range of 0.02-0.19 ppm with one large bass (700 mm TL, 13 yrs old) having a concentration of 1.09 ppm.  Mercury in both species correlated positively with age and length.  Except for the 700-mm largemouth bass, all other fish tested in this study had mercury concentrations below the EPA sportfish mercury criterion concentration of 0.3 ppm.