Are red mullet efficient as bio-indicators of mercury contamination? A case study from the French Mediterranean

Type Article
Date 2015-02
Language English
Author(s) Cresson PierreORCID1, 2, Bouchoucha Marc1, Miralles F.ORCID1, Elleboode Romain2, Mahe KeligORCID2, Marusczak Nicolas1, 5, Thebault Herve3, Cossa Daniel1, 4
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Ctr Mediterranee, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Manche Mer Nord, F-62321 Boulogne Sur Mer, France.
3 : Inst Radioprotect & Surete Nucl, PRP ENV SESURE LERCM, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
4 : Univ Joseph Fourier, ISTerre, F-38041 Grenoble, France.
5 : Univ Toulouse 3, CNRS IRD, Lab Geosci Environm Toulouse, Observ Midi Pyrenees, F-31400 Toulouse, France.
Source Marine Pollution Bulletin (0025-326X) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2015-02 , Vol. 91 , N. 1 , P. 191-199
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.12.005
WOS© Times Cited 21
Keyword(s) Mercury, Bio-indicator, Fish, Mullus spp., Mediterranean

Mercury (Hg) is one of the main chemicals currently altering Mediterranean ecosystems. Red mullet (Mullus barbatus and M. surmuletus) have been widely used as quantitative bio-indicators of chemical contamination. In this study, we reassess the ability of these species to be used as efficient bio-indicators of Hg contamination by monitoring during 18 months Hg concentrations in muscle tissue of mullet sampled from 5 French Mediterranean coastal areas. Mean concentrations ranged between 0.23 and 0.78 μg g−1 dry mass for both species. Values were consistent with expected contamination patterns of all sites except Corsica. Results confirmed that red mullets are efficient bio-indicators of Hg contamination. Nevertheless, the observed variability in Hg concentrations calls for caution regarding the period and the sample size. Attention should be paid to environmental and biologic specificities of each studied site, as they can alter the bioaccumulation of Hg, and lead to inferences about environmental Hg concentrations.

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