Trophic Structure and Biomagnification of Total Mercury in Ray Species Within a Benthic Food Web Academic Article uri icon


  • Stable isotopes of C (δ13C) and N (δ15N) were used to explore the trophic structure and evaluate mercury (Hg) biomagnification in the food web of muscle of three commercially important ray species from the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur (PCBCS): the shovelnose guitarfish (Pseudobatos productus), banded guitarfish (Zapteryx exasperata), and bat ray (Myliobatis californica). The food web of these ray species predominately consisted of zooplankton, three species of fish, and five species of invertebrates. Mean δ15N values in all species ranged from 10.54 ± 0.18‰ in zooplankton to 17.84 ± 0.81‰ in the shovelnose guitarfish. Mean δ13C values ranged from - 22.05 ± 0.75‰ in the red crab to - 15.93 ± 0.78‰ in the bat ray. Mean total Hg concentration ([THg]) in all species ranged from 0.0009 ± 0.0002 mg kg-1 ww in zooplankton to 0.24 ± 0.19 mg kg-1 ww in the banded guitarfish. The food web magnification factor was 6.38 and significantly greater than 1.0. The present study describes [THg] biomagnification in the benthic food web of three ray species of the PCBCS. This provides an important baseline knowledge of the biomagnification dynamics and pathways of Hg in this environment for these multiple interacting species.

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Murillo-Cisneros, D. A., O’Hara, T. M., Elorriaga-Verplancken, F. R., Sánchez-González, A., Marín-Enríquez, E., Marmolejo-Rodríguez, A. J., & Galván-Magaña, F.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • April 2019