ABSTRACT: We assessed spatial patterns in 37 PCB congeners, eight pesticides, and the heavy metals mercury and cadmium in the flatfish Solea solea at four sites in the Gulf of Lions (NW Mediterranean). Overall contaminant concentrations generally exceeded those reported for S. solea elsewhere, but fell into the range of other Gulf fishes, testifying of a relatively high contaminant load of this area. Spatial patterns in all three contaminant classes were highly significant, but differed among classes. PCB congener and chlorination class profiles also differed among sites. The observed patterns would be consistent with (1) PCB point-sources in the Eastern Gulf (Marseille, Rhone River) versus dominance of atmospheric input in the West, (2) pesticide input by the Rhone and from agricultural fields in the West, and (3) mercury point-sources near Marseille. The unique, site-specific contaminant profiles prove to be a powerful tool to differentiate between S. solea populations from different sites.
Marine Pollution Bulletin.