Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 38(7):1467-1475, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2019. Paper Website abstract bibtex
© 2019 SETAC Evaluating potential ecological and human health risks of exposure to bioaccumulative trace elements is typically implemented using analysis of tissue samples. Increasingly, the microchemistry of fish calcified structures is used to elucidate the lifetime exposure to trace elements. In the present study, we measured total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg), and selenium (Se) in muscle tissue and otolith samples from 12 species of fish collected at reference sites and locations influenced by power plant wastewater. Muscle tissue concentrations of Se were sensitive to recent wastewater exposure magnitude, stream type, trophic level, and species (p < 0.001). For Hg, concentrations in muscle tissue and otoliths were affected only by trophic level and species. Levels of THg and Se in muscle tissue and otolith samples were positively correlated for those species with a robust sample size. Some individual fish from 3 species (channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, and freshwater drum) showed significantly increasing or decreasing lifetime concentrations of either THg or Se in otolith samples. Multiple regression analysis indicated that for bluegill muscle tissue Se concentrations could be best explained utilizing water concentrations of selenium, sulfate, and molybdenum (r2 = 0.87; p < 0.001). Because of the increased cost and specialized sample processing requirements of analyzing trace elements in otolith structures, it may be prudent to limit these analyses to those species where insights into temporal trends are sought or where evidence indicates that fish move into or out of contaminated water bodies. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:1467–1475. © 2019 SETAC.