Controls of Methylmercury Bioaccumulation in Forest Floor Food Webs

TitleControls of Methylmercury Bioaccumulation in Forest Floor Food Webs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsTsui, MTsz-Ki, Liu, S, Brasso, RL, Blum, JD, Kwon, SYun, Ulus, Y, Nollet, YH, Balogh, SJ, Eggert, SL, Finlay, JC
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Pagination2434 - 2440
Date Published2019/03/05/
ISBN Number0013-936X

Compared to the extensive research on aquatic ecosystems, very little is known about the sources and trophic transfer of methylmercury (MeHg) in terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we examine energy flow and trophic structure using stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios, respectively, and MeHg levels in basal resources and terrestrial invertebrates from four temperate forest ecosystems. We show that MeHg levels in biota increased significantly (p 0.05) from those observed for diverse temperate freshwater systems (0.24 ± 0.07; n = 78), demonstrating for the first time the nearly equivalent efficiencies with which MeHg moves up the food chain in these contrasting ecosystem types. Our results suggest that in situ production of MeHg within the forest floor and efficient biomagnification both elevate MeHg levels in carnivorous invertebrates in temperate forests, which can contribute to significant bioaccumulation of this neurotoxin in terrestrial apex predators.





Short TitleEnviron. Sci. Technol.