Bioaccumulation of mercury in pelagic fishes from the northern Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • Total mercury (Hg) concentration was determined in the tissues of 10 pelagic fishes in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and dietary tracers (stable isotopes and fatty acids) were used to evaluate the relationship between Hg and feeding history. Highest Hg levels were observed in blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), carcharhinid sharks (Carcha rhinus spp.), and little tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), ranging from 1.08 to 10.52 ppm. Moderate to low concentrations (<1.0 ppm) were observed in blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), dolphinfish (Cory phaena hippurus), greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), wahoo (Acantho cybium solandri), and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). For the majority of species examined, Hg concentrations did not vary significantly between location (Texas vs. Louisiana) or collection period (2002 and 2003). Significant positive relationships between Hg concentration and body size and (or) weight were detected for 6 of the 10 taxa examined. Hg concentration was also positively associated with trophic position. Three natural associations were identified using stable isotope and fatty acid signatures. Still, no connection between these natural trophic associations and Hg concentration was observed, suggesting that Hg concentration in pelagic fishes was more closely linked to trophic position and size than feeding history.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Cai, Y., Rooker, J. R., Gill, G. A., & Turner, J. P.

citation count

  • 104

complete list of authors

  • Cai, Yan||Rooker, Jay R||Gill, Gary A||Turner, Jason P

publication date

  • March 2007