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Mecury in Fin Clips and Scales as Assessment Methods for Predicting Muscle Tissue Mercury Concentrations in Red Drum and Snook
LAKE, J. L., S. A. RYBA, J. R. SERBST, S. AYVAZIAN, AND D. Adams. Mecury in Fin Clips and Scales as Assessment Methods for Predicting Muscle Tissue Mercury Concentrations in Red Drum and Snook. Presented at SETAC North American 29th Annual Meeting, Tampa, FL, November 16 - 20, 2008.
Development of a non-lethal sampling method to determine mercury bioaccumulation in the muscle tissues of fish.
Non-lethal techniques for assessing total mercury concentrations in fish are desired because they minimize impacts on fish populations and allow trends in Hg accumulation to be assessed through repeated sampling of individual fish. This study developed relationships of Hg concentrations between two sample types that can be obtained non-lethally (caudal fin clips and scales) and muscle tissue of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) to determine whether these sampling methods were useful for predicting mercury concentrations in these marine fish. These fish species were selected for this study because they are abundant in Florida’s coastal waters and are highly prized by anglers as gamefish and for consumption. Red drum were collected in the Indian River Lagoon (n=7), Banana River Lagoon (n=15) on Florida’s Atlantic coast, and three fish were taken from adjacent nearshore waters in the Atlantic Ocean. Snook were collected in the Indian River Lagoon (n=38) and Florida Bay (n=12). The mean total lengths and muscle tissue mercury concentrations were: red drum; 488 mm (range 365 to 911), 163 ng Hg/g (wet) (range 63 to 168), snook; 627 mm (range 381 to 946), 343 ng Hg/g (wet) (range 164 to 766) A significant relationship was not found between Hg concentration in red drum muscle tissue and cleaned scales. A similar relationship for snook was significant (p<0.05), but showed high variability (r2=0.60). Relationships of Hg concentrations between cleaned fin clips and muscle tissue were significant, but highly variable for both red drum (r2=0.30) and snook (r2=0.23). Overall, these results were below the coefficients of determination found in other studies with freshwater fish for relationships of Hg concentrations between scales and muscle tissue (largemouth bass, r2=0.89) or between caudal fin clips and muscle tissue (largemouth bass, r2=0.85, northern pike r2=0.78, 0.72, walleye r2=0.83, 0.73 and arctic grayling, r2=0.84). One study showed a significant relationship between fin clips and muscle tissue for the marine species winter founder (r2=0.94). Comparisons of these findings with those from the present study show that these non-lethal methods have limited potential for use in predicting Hg concentrations in muscle tissue of red drum and snook.