AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Mercury biomagnification in the upper South Saskatchewan River Basin

by Lars Brinkmann

Institution: University of Lethbridge
Department: Faculty of Arts and Science
Year: 2007
Keywords: Dissertations, Academic; Fishes  – Mercury content  – Alberta  – South Saskatchewan River Basin; Mercury  – Environmental aspects  – Alberta  – South Saskatchewan River Basin; South Saskatchewan River Basin (Alta.)
Record ID: 1790828
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10133/742


In this thesis mercury concentrations in biota of the upper South Saskatchewan River Basin are assessed in three non-industrialized systems. Mercury levels in large sport fish (northern pike, walleye, lake trout) frequently exceeded the consumption limit of 0.5ppm. Goldeye and mooneye of the Oldman River and lake whitefish of Waterton Lakes were below 0.5ppm total mercury. Agricultural and urban effluents constituted no sources of significant mercury loadings to the Oldman River. A doubling of mercury biomagnification factors between longnose dace and their food suggests bioenergetic heterogeneity of these fish along the river gradient. Basin-specific mercury levels were detected for the upper and middle basins in Waterton Lakes, and are associated with food web characteristics, and fish bioenergetics. High mercury levels in a new reservoir were in part attributed to increased loadings from flooded soils, as is commonly observed, but also to bioenergetic constraints and growth inefficiency as a result of non-piscivory of this population. xiii, 130 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.  –