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ABSTRACT: Metal concentrations in sediment and two species of freshwater fish (lake trout [Salvelinus namaycush], and grayling [Thymallus arcticus]) were examined in four Arctic lakes in Alaska. Concentrations of several metals were naturally high in the sediment relative to uncontaminated lakes in other Arctic regions and more temperate locations. For example, concentrations of Hg and Ni were 175 ng/g and 250 ng/g dry weight, respectively, in Feniak Lake surface sediment. If any anthropogenic enrichment has occurred, it is not distinguishable from background variability based on surface sediment to down core comparisons. With the exception of Hg, the site rank order of metal concentrations (Cu, Cd, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in sediment and freshwater fish tissue among lakes is not consistent. This suggests that a number of physical, chemical, and physiological parameters mediate metal bioavailability and uptake in these systems. Maximum concentrations of most metals in fish from this study are equal to or higher than those collected from remote Arctic lakes and rivers in Canada, Finland, and Russia. Muscle Hg concentrations in excess of 1 μg/g wet weight were observed in lake trout from Feniak Lake, which has no identified Hg source other than naturally Hg-enriched sediments. Fish diet seems to influence some heavy metal burdens, as evidenced by the higher concentrations of some metals in lake trout compared to grayling, and differences among lakes for lake trout. Cadmium, Cu, and Zn burdens were higher in lakes where snails were consumed by trout compared to lakes without snails.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 10/2009; 16(4):733 - 741. · 2.62 Impact Factor