MEPS 337:155-164 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps337155

Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated and brominated organic contaminants as tracers of feeding ecology in polar benthic amphipods

Tore C. Svendsen1, Lionel Camus2, Barry Hargrave3, Aaron Fisk4, Derek C.G. Muir5, Katrine Borgå6,*

1Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology, National Environmental Research Institute, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
2Akvaplan-niva AS, Polar Environmental Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
3Department of Fisheries and Oceanography, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, PO Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
4University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada
5National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, PO Box 550, Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6, Canada
6Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Concentrations of organochlorines (OCs) such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), hexachlorocyclobenzene (HCB), chlordanes, and hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) were measured in 3 different species of benthic marine amphipods (Eurythenes gryllus, Anonyx nugax, and Paramphitoe hystrix) from 4 different locations: 2 from the Canadian Arctic and 2 from the Norwegian Arctic. In addition, polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and brominated flameretardants (BFR) such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) were measured in E. gryllus from the Norwegian Arctic. For all species and locations, concentrations of OCs in the amphipods were higher than those found in zooplankton and other benthic organisms from the same areas. If the amphipods’ OC concentrations were determined by sediment exposure, their values would be close to other benthic infauna, suggesting that sediment exposure does not explain the amphipods’ higher OC concentrations. In fact, the OC concentrations in benthic amphipods were similar to those in seals and gulls, which provides strong evidence that benthic amphipods are scavengers of higher trophic level carrion. Concentrations of PBDE and PAH were also high in E. gryllus (ΣPBDE 115 to 493 ng g–1 lipid weight [lw]; ΣPAH 269 ng g–1 lw), and were in the same range as measured in marine animals. BFR concentrations correlated with PCB and DDT concentrations (PCBs: r2 = 0.61 p < 0.0076; DDTs: r2 = 0.530 p < 0.0171), indicating the same bioaccumulation potential. BFRs are thereby emerging problems as their concentrations increase in Arctic regions.


KEY WORDS: Arctic · Benthic amphipods · Organochlorines · Scavenger · PCB · DDT · PBDE · HBCD · PAH


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