River organisms as indicators of the distribution and sources of persistent organic pollutants in contrasting catchments

Windsor, Fredric M.; Pereira, M. Gloria; Tyler, Charles R.; Ormerod, Steve J.. 2019 River organisms as indicators of the distribution and sources of persistent organic pollutants in contrasting catchments. Environmental Pollution, 255 (1), 113144. 10, pp.

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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) continue to threaten aquatic organisms, but risk assessments are restricted by poor knowledge of the distribution and quantity of these substances in different biota. Assessments on aquatic invertebrates are particularly scarce. Here, we investigate variation in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorines (OCs) in sediments, biofilms, macroinvertebrates and fish across rivers in South Wales (UK). Persistent PCB (−118, −153, −180) and PBDE congeners (BDE-47, -99, −100), and OCs (p,p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene [p,p’-DDE] and dieldrin [HEOD]) dominated the POPs detected, indicating links to historical emissions. Low concentrations of less persistent PBDEs, PCBs and OCs, however, suggest more contemporary sources. Concentrations of POPs were 2–22 times greater in fish than invertebrates, but their detection frequency (>90%) and concentrations (0–304 ng g−1 wet weight) were higher in these organisms than in sediments or biofilms (<10%; 0–12 ng g−1 wet weight). Invertebrates and fish also contained several PCB congeners (28, 52, 77 and 105) and p,p’-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p’-DDT) that were not detected in the environmental samples. Concentrations of PBDEs, PCBs and OCs differed among invertebrate taxa and feeding guilds. After controlling for significant variation among sample types and taxa, PBDEs were found to increase with urban land cover, while increased PCBs were associated with urban land cover and wastewater discharge. These data illustrate how body burdens of POPs across invertebrate and fish taxa provide valuable information on the spatial variation and likely sources of persistent pollutants in freshwater ecosystems. More work is required to resolve differences in POP contamination between taxonomic groups.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0269-7491
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: biomonitoring, ecotoxicology, freshwaters, PCBs, PBDEs, organochlorines, xenobiotic pollution
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 23 Sep 2019 15:33 +0 (UTC)

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