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Recent progress on our understanding of the biological effects of mercury in fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic.
Sci Total Environ. 2015 Mar 15; 509-510:91-103.ST

Abstract

This review summarizes our current state of knowledge regarding the potential biological effects of mercury (Hg) exposure on fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. Although Hg in most freshwater fish from northern Canada was not sufficiently elevated to be of concern, a few lakes in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut contained fish of certain species (e.g. northern pike, Arctic char) whose muscle Hg concentrations exceeded an estimated threshold range (0.5-1.0 μg g(-1) wet weight) within which adverse biological effects begin to occur. Marine fish species generally had substantially lower Hg concentrations than freshwater fish; but the Greenland shark, a long-lived predatory species, had mean muscle Hg concentrations exceeding the threshold range for possible effects on health or reproduction. An examination of recent egg Hg concentrations for marine birds from the Canadian Arctic indicated that mean Hg concentration in ivory gulls from Seymour Island fell within the threshold range associated with adverse effects on reproduction in birds. Mercury concentrations in brain tissue of beluga whales and polar bears were generally lower than levels associated with neurotoxicity in mammals, but were sometimes high enough to cause subtle neurochemical changes that can precede overt neurotoxicity. Harbour seals from western Hudson Bay had elevated mean liver Hg concentrations along with comparatively high muscle Hg concentrations indicating potential health effects from methylmercury (MeHg) exposure on this subpopulation. Because current information is generally insufficient to determine with confidence whether Hg exposure is impacting the health of specific fish or wildlife populations in the Canadian Arctic, biological effects studies should comprise a major focus of future Hg research in the Canadian Arctic. Additionally, studies on cellular interactions between Hg and selenium (Se) are required to better account for potential protective effects of Se on Hg toxicity, especially in large predatory Arctic fish, birds, and mammals.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3, Canada.Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3, Canada. Electronic address: birgit.braune@ec.gc.ca.Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada.Jasco Research, 4464 Markam St., Victoria, BC V8Z 7X8, Canada.Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada.Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3, Canada.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, National Centre for Arctic Aquatic Research Excellence, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N6, Canada.School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada.Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada.Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC V8L 4B2, Canada.Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, 115 Perimeter Rd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0X4, Canada.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24935263

Citation

Scheuhammer, Anton, et al. "Recent Progress On Our Understanding of the Biological Effects of Mercury in Fish and Wildlife in the Canadian Arctic." The Science of the Total Environment, vol. 509-510, 2015, pp. 91-103.
Scheuhammer A, Braune B, Chan HM, et al. Recent progress on our understanding of the biological effects of mercury in fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. Sci Total Environ. 2015;509-510:91-103.
Scheuhammer, A., Braune, B., Chan, H. M., Frouin, H., Krey, A., Letcher, R., Loseto, L., Noël, M., Ostertag, S., Ross, P., & Wayland, M. (2015). Recent progress on our understanding of the biological effects of mercury in fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. The Science of the Total Environment, 509-510, 91-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.05.142
Scheuhammer A, et al. Recent Progress On Our Understanding of the Biological Effects of Mercury in Fish and Wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. Sci Total Environ. 2015 Mar 15;509-510:91-103. PubMed PMID: 24935263.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Recent progress on our understanding of the biological effects of mercury in fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. AU - Scheuhammer,Anton, AU - Braune,Birgit, AU - Chan,Hing Man, AU - Frouin,Héloïse, AU - Krey,Anke, AU - Letcher,Robert, AU - Loseto,Lisa, AU - Noël,Marie, AU - Ostertag,Sonja, AU - Ross,Peter, AU - Wayland,Mark, Y1 - 2014/06/14/ PY - 2014/01/28/received PY - 2014/05/29/revised PY - 2014/05/29/accepted PY - 2014/6/18/entrez PY - 2014/6/18/pubmed PY - 2015/6/6/medline KW - Biological effects KW - Canadian Arctic KW - Fish KW - Marine mammals KW - Mercury KW - Seabirds SP - 91 EP - 103 JF - The Science of the total environment JO - Sci Total Environ VL - 509-510 N2 - This review summarizes our current state of knowledge regarding the potential biological effects of mercury (Hg) exposure on fish and wildlife in the Canadian Arctic. Although Hg in most freshwater fish from northern Canada was not sufficiently elevated to be of concern, a few lakes in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut contained fish of certain species (e.g. northern pike, Arctic char) whose muscle Hg concentrations exceeded an estimated threshold range (0.5-1.0 μg g(-1) wet weight) within which adverse biological effects begin to occur. Marine fish species generally had substantially lower Hg concentrations than freshwater fish; but the Greenland shark, a long-lived predatory species, had mean muscle Hg concentrations exceeding the threshold range for possible effects on health or reproduction. An examination of recent egg Hg concentrations for marine birds from the Canadian Arctic indicated that mean Hg concentration in ivory gulls from Seymour Island fell within the threshold range associated with adverse effects on reproduction in birds. Mercury concentrations in brain tissue of beluga whales and polar bears were generally lower than levels associated with neurotoxicity in mammals, but were sometimes high enough to cause subtle neurochemical changes that can precede overt neurotoxicity. Harbour seals from western Hudson Bay had elevated mean liver Hg concentrations along with comparatively high muscle Hg concentrations indicating potential health effects from methylmercury (MeHg) exposure on this subpopulation. Because current information is generally insufficient to determine with confidence whether Hg exposure is impacting the health of specific fish or wildlife populations in the Canadian Arctic, biological effects studies should comprise a major focus of future Hg research in the Canadian Arctic. Additionally, studies on cellular interactions between Hg and selenium (Se) are required to better account for potential protective effects of Se on Hg toxicity, especially in large predatory Arctic fish, birds, and mammals. SN - 1879-1026 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24935263/Recent_progress_on_our_understanding_of_the_biological_effects_of_mercury_in_fish_and_wildlife_in_the_Canadian_Arctic_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0048-9697(14)00834-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -