Total mercury (T-Hg) and cadmium (Cd) were measured in twenty species of fish to study their bioaccumulation patterns and trophodynamics in the Augusta Bay food web. Adult and juvenile fish were caught in 2012 in Priolo Bay, south of the Augusta harbour (Central Mediterranean Sea), which is known for the high trace element and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination level. T-Hg concentration was found to significantly increase along d15N and from pelagic to benthic sedentary fish, revealing a marked influence of trophic position and habitat use (sensu Harmelin 1987) on T-Hg accumulation within ichthyofauna. Cd showed the opposite pattern, in line with the higher trace element (TE) excretion rates of high trophic level fish and the lower level of Cd environmental contamination. Trophic pathways were first characterised in the Priolo Bay food web using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes (d13C, d15N) and a single main trophic pathway characterised the Priolo Bay food web. Biomagnification was then assessed, including basal sources (surface sediment, macroalgae), zooplankton, benthic invertebrates and fish. T-Hg and Cd were found to biomagnify and biodilute respectively based on the significant linear regressions between log[T-Hg] and log[Cd] vs. d15N of sources and consumers and the trophic magnification factors (TMFs) of 1.22 and 0.83 respectively. Interestingly, different Cd behaviour was found considering only the benthic pathway which leads to the predatory gastropod Hexaplex trunculus. The positive slope and the higher TMF indicated active biomagnification in this benthic food web due to the high bioaccumulation efficiency of this benthic predator. Our findings provide new evidences about the role of Priolo sediments as a sources of pollutants for the food web, representing a threat to fish and, by domino effect, to humans.
|Numero di pagine||11|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2017|
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