Anthropogenically-sourced low concentration PAHs: in situ bioavailability to juvenile Pacific salmon

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(Project) M.E.T.
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Author: Blanc, Ariel
Gill 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity of juvenile Chinook salmon caged in Auke Lake, AK was used as a biomarker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure. Biomarker measurements in conjunction with a comprehensive sampling program that included grab water and sediment samples, and passive sampling devices were used to determine PAH concentrations, source(s), bioavailability, and resulting biological response. PAHs were detected at all lake locations except the reference site upstream of anthropogenic activity. Water samples were the best predictor of a biological response and EROD activity correlated to corresponding parts per trillion water pyrene concentrations (r2=0.9662; p=0.0004). Sediment samples yielded the clearest indication of PAH sources and amalgamated contaminant magnitude, and passive samplers served as accumulators of retrospective aqueous conditions. Results suggest that salmon stocks are being exposed to chronic low-concentrations of anthrogenically-sourced PAHs during sensitive life-stages, which may be in part a contributor to their declining numbers.
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