Trophic Accumulation and Depuration of Mercury by Blue Crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and Pink Shrimp (Penaeus duorarum)

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Mercury concentrations in blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) collected from an area of mercury-contaminated sediments in Lavaca Bay, TX, USA, are more than an order of magnitude greater than concentrations in penaeid shrimp from the same area. Laboratory feeding experiments using mercury-contaminated fish as food showed that both blue crabs and pink shrimp (Penaeus duoravum) could accumulate mercury concentrations comparable to those in their food in 28 days. Calculated mercury assimilation efficiencies averaged 76% for blue crabs and 72% for pink shrimp. Significant depuration of mercury by blue crabs was not observed during a subsequent 28-day period, but pink shrimp lost mercury at a rate of about 0.012 day(-1). Model calculations predict biomagnification factors of mercury of about two to three at steady state for both species. The large difference in observed concentrations of mercury in field-collected blue crabs and penaeid shrimp does not result from differences in efficiency of mercury assimilation from their food or from differences in excretion rates. It is more likely the result of differences in residence times in the contaminated area and of differences in feeding habits. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

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Marine Environmental Research





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