The role of cannibalism and contaminant source on bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs

Alison J. Fraser, Thomas Cahill, David C. Lasenby, Donald Mackay, Lynne Milford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two aspects of bioaccumulation in an aquatic food web are explored. First, the possible implications of cannibalism, including the scavenging of conspecifics, as a factor influencing food web bioaccumulation and biomagnification are explored by examining the behavior of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a simple aquatic food web consisting of plankton, juvenile and adult Mysis relicta, Diporeia, and alewife. From an analysis of trophic transfer efficiencies and food consumption rates, it is concluded that, for M. relicta, a maximum extent of cannibalism in a population is about 10%, although certain individuals may be more cannibalistic. The model suggests that cannibalism and scavenging of dead conspecifics generally result in an increase in concentration by self-biomagnification, but the effect is small and unlikely to exceed 5% on the average. Concentration differences also are likely to result from changes in the relative amounts of the dietary components. Highly cannibalistic individuals may achieve higher levels of bioaccumulation. In extreme cases, the food web model becomes mathematically unstable because of excessive feedback of high concentrations. A major implication is that differences in extent of cannibalism and scavenging probably contribute significantly to natural concentration variation in a population. Second, and more important, is the effect of benthic versus pelagic sources, especially when significant fugacity differences exist between these zones. A simple method is described by which the separate contributions from these sources can be estimated for organisms at higher trophic levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-915
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cannibalism
Bioaccumulation
Food Chain
cannibalism
bioaccumulation
food web
Impurities
Scavenging
pollutant
Plankton
Polychlorinated Biphenyls
food consumption
fugacity
trophic level
Population
plankton
PCB
Food
Feedback

Keywords

  • Benthic
  • Cannibalism
  • Model
  • Mysids
  • Pelagic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

The role of cannibalism and contaminant source on bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs. / Fraser, Alison J.; Cahill, Thomas; Lasenby, David C.; Mackay, Donald; Milford, Lynne.

In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 24, No. 4, 04.2005, p. 909-915.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fraser, Alison J. ; Cahill, Thomas ; Lasenby, David C. ; Mackay, Donald ; Milford, Lynne. / The role of cannibalism and contaminant source on bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs. In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 2005 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 909-915.
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