Climate and productivity affect total mercury concentration and bioaccumulation rate of fish along a spatial gradient of subarctic lakes

Salla Ahonen, Brian Hayden, Jaakko Johannes Leppänen, Kimmo Kalevi Kahilainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Climate change is resulting in increased temperatures and precipitation in subarctic regions of Europe. These changes are extending tree lines to higher altitudes and latitudes, and enhancing tree growth enabling intensification of forestry into previously inhospitable subarctic regions. The combined effects of climate change and land-use intensification extend the warm, open-water season in subarctic lakes and increase lake productivity and may also increase leaching andmethylation activity of mercury within the lakes. To assess the joint effects of climate and productivity on total mercury (THg) bioaccumulation in fish, we conducted a space-for-time substitution study in 18 tributary lakes of a subarcticwatercourse forming a gradient fromcold pristine oligotrophic lakes in the northern headwaters to warmer and increasingly human-altered mesotrophic and eutrophic systems in the southern lower reaches.

Increasing temperature, precipitation, and lake productivity were predicted to elevate length-and age-adjusted THg concentrations, as well as THg bioaccumulation rate (the rate of THg bioaccumulation relative to length or age) in muscle tissue of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), vendace (Coregonus albula), perch (Perca fluviatilis), pike (Esox lucius), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua).

A significant positive relationship was observed between age-adjusted THg concentration and lake climateproductivity in vendace (r(2) = 0.50), perch (r(2) = 0.51), pike (r(2) = 0.55) and roach (r(2) = 0.61). Higher climate-productivity values of the lakes also had a positive linear (pike; r(2) = 0.40 and whitefish; r(2)= 0.72) or u-shaped (perch; r(2) = 0.64 and ruffe; r(2) = 0.50) relationship with THg bioaccumulation rate.

Our findings of increased adjusted THg concentrations in planktivores and piscivores reveal adverse effects of warming climate and increasing productivity on these subarctic fishes, whereas less distinct trends in THg bioaccumulation rate suggest more complex underlying processes. Joint environmental stressors such as climate and productivity should be considered in ongoing and future monitoring of mercury concentrations. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume637-638
Pages (from-to)1586-1596
Number of pages11
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • Climate change
  • Heavy metal
  • Intensive forestry
  • Land use
  • Temperature
  • COREGONUS-LAVARETUS L.
  • BOREAL FOREST CATCHMENTS
  • AQUATIC FOOD WEBS
  • FRESH-WATER FISH
  • METHYL-MERCURY
  • RESOURCE POLYMORPHISM
  • ADAPTIVE RADIATION
  • WHITEFISH
  • ACCUMULATION

Cite this

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title = "Climate and productivity affect total mercury concentration and bioaccumulation rate of fish along a spatial gradient of subarctic lakes",
abstract = "Climate change is resulting in increased temperatures and precipitation in subarctic regions of Europe. These changes are extending tree lines to higher altitudes and latitudes, and enhancing tree growth enabling intensification of forestry into previously inhospitable subarctic regions. The combined effects of climate change and land-use intensification extend the warm, open-water season in subarctic lakes and increase lake productivity and may also increase leaching andmethylation activity of mercury within the lakes. To assess the joint effects of climate and productivity on total mercury (THg) bioaccumulation in fish, we conducted a space-for-time substitution study in 18 tributary lakes of a subarcticwatercourse forming a gradient fromcold pristine oligotrophic lakes in the northern headwaters to warmer and increasingly human-altered mesotrophic and eutrophic systems in the southern lower reaches.Increasing temperature, precipitation, and lake productivity were predicted to elevate length-and age-adjusted THg concentrations, as well as THg bioaccumulation rate (the rate of THg bioaccumulation relative to length or age) in muscle tissue of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), vendace (Coregonus albula), perch (Perca fluviatilis), pike (Esox lucius), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua).A significant positive relationship was observed between age-adjusted THg concentration and lake climateproductivity in vendace (r(2) = 0.50), perch (r(2) = 0.51), pike (r(2) = 0.55) and roach (r(2) = 0.61). Higher climate-productivity values of the lakes also had a positive linear (pike; r(2) = 0.40 and whitefish; r(2)= 0.72) or u-shaped (perch; r(2) = 0.64 and ruffe; r(2) = 0.50) relationship with THg bioaccumulation rate.Our findings of increased adjusted THg concentrations in planktivores and piscivores reveal adverse effects of warming climate and increasing productivity on these subarctic fishes, whereas less distinct trends in THg bioaccumulation rate suggest more complex underlying processes. Joint environmental stressors such as climate and productivity should be considered in ongoing and future monitoring of mercury concentrations. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "1172 Environmental sciences, Climate change, Heavy metal, Intensive forestry, Land use, Temperature, COREGONUS-LAVARETUS L., BOREAL FOREST CATCHMENTS, AQUATIC FOOD WEBS, FRESH-WATER FISH, METHYL-MERCURY, RESOURCE POLYMORPHISM, ADAPTIVE RADIATION, WHITEFISH, ACCUMULATION",
author = "Salla Ahonen and Brian Hayden and Lepp{\"a}nen, {Jaakko Johannes} and Kahilainen, {Kimmo Kalevi}",
year = "2018",
month = "5",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.436",
language = "English",
volume = "637-638",
pages = "1586--1596",
journal = "Science of the Total Environment",
issn = "0048-9697",
publisher = "Elsevier Scientific Publ. Co",

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Climate and productivity affect total mercury concentration and bioaccumulation rate of fish along a spatial gradient of subarctic lakes. / Ahonen, Salla; Hayden, Brian; Leppänen, Jaakko Johannes; Kahilainen, Kimmo Kalevi.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 637-638, 22.05.2018, p. 1586-1596.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Climate and productivity affect total mercury concentration and bioaccumulation rate of fish along a spatial gradient of subarctic lakes

AU - Ahonen, Salla

AU - Hayden, Brian

AU - Leppänen, Jaakko Johannes

AU - Kahilainen, Kimmo Kalevi

PY - 2018/5/22

Y1 - 2018/5/22

N2 - Climate change is resulting in increased temperatures and precipitation in subarctic regions of Europe. These changes are extending tree lines to higher altitudes and latitudes, and enhancing tree growth enabling intensification of forestry into previously inhospitable subarctic regions. The combined effects of climate change and land-use intensification extend the warm, open-water season in subarctic lakes and increase lake productivity and may also increase leaching andmethylation activity of mercury within the lakes. To assess the joint effects of climate and productivity on total mercury (THg) bioaccumulation in fish, we conducted a space-for-time substitution study in 18 tributary lakes of a subarcticwatercourse forming a gradient fromcold pristine oligotrophic lakes in the northern headwaters to warmer and increasingly human-altered mesotrophic and eutrophic systems in the southern lower reaches.Increasing temperature, precipitation, and lake productivity were predicted to elevate length-and age-adjusted THg concentrations, as well as THg bioaccumulation rate (the rate of THg bioaccumulation relative to length or age) in muscle tissue of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), vendace (Coregonus albula), perch (Perca fluviatilis), pike (Esox lucius), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua).A significant positive relationship was observed between age-adjusted THg concentration and lake climateproductivity in vendace (r(2) = 0.50), perch (r(2) = 0.51), pike (r(2) = 0.55) and roach (r(2) = 0.61). Higher climate-productivity values of the lakes also had a positive linear (pike; r(2) = 0.40 and whitefish; r(2)= 0.72) or u-shaped (perch; r(2) = 0.64 and ruffe; r(2) = 0.50) relationship with THg bioaccumulation rate.Our findings of increased adjusted THg concentrations in planktivores and piscivores reveal adverse effects of warming climate and increasing productivity on these subarctic fishes, whereas less distinct trends in THg bioaccumulation rate suggest more complex underlying processes. Joint environmental stressors such as climate and productivity should be considered in ongoing and future monitoring of mercury concentrations. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - Climate change is resulting in increased temperatures and precipitation in subarctic regions of Europe. These changes are extending tree lines to higher altitudes and latitudes, and enhancing tree growth enabling intensification of forestry into previously inhospitable subarctic regions. The combined effects of climate change and land-use intensification extend the warm, open-water season in subarctic lakes and increase lake productivity and may also increase leaching andmethylation activity of mercury within the lakes. To assess the joint effects of climate and productivity on total mercury (THg) bioaccumulation in fish, we conducted a space-for-time substitution study in 18 tributary lakes of a subarcticwatercourse forming a gradient fromcold pristine oligotrophic lakes in the northern headwaters to warmer and increasingly human-altered mesotrophic and eutrophic systems in the southern lower reaches.Increasing temperature, precipitation, and lake productivity were predicted to elevate length-and age-adjusted THg concentrations, as well as THg bioaccumulation rate (the rate of THg bioaccumulation relative to length or age) in muscle tissue of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), vendace (Coregonus albula), perch (Perca fluviatilis), pike (Esox lucius), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua).A significant positive relationship was observed between age-adjusted THg concentration and lake climateproductivity in vendace (r(2) = 0.50), perch (r(2) = 0.51), pike (r(2) = 0.55) and roach (r(2) = 0.61). Higher climate-productivity values of the lakes also had a positive linear (pike; r(2) = 0.40 and whitefish; r(2)= 0.72) or u-shaped (perch; r(2) = 0.64 and ruffe; r(2) = 0.50) relationship with THg bioaccumulation rate.Our findings of increased adjusted THg concentrations in planktivores and piscivores reveal adverse effects of warming climate and increasing productivity on these subarctic fishes, whereas less distinct trends in THg bioaccumulation rate suggest more complex underlying processes. Joint environmental stressors such as climate and productivity should be considered in ongoing and future monitoring of mercury concentrations. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - 1172 Environmental sciences

KW - Climate change

KW - Heavy metal

KW - Intensive forestry

KW - Land use

KW - Temperature

KW - COREGONUS-LAVARETUS L.

KW - BOREAL FOREST CATCHMENTS

KW - AQUATIC FOOD WEBS

KW - FRESH-WATER FISH

KW - METHYL-MERCURY

KW - RESOURCE POLYMORPHISM

KW - ADAPTIVE RADIATION

KW - WHITEFISH

KW - ACCUMULATION

U2 - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.436

DO - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.436

M3 - Article

VL - 637-638

SP - 1586

EP - 1596

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

ER -