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River organisms as indicators of the distribution and sources of persistent organic pollutants in contrasting catchments

Windsor, Fredric M. ORCID:, Pereira, M Gloria, Tyler, Charles R and Ormerod, Steve J ORCID: 2019. River organisms as indicators of the distribution and sources of persistent organic pollutants in contrasting catchments. Environmental Pollution 255 (P1) , -. 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113144

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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) continue to threaten aquatic organisms, but risk assessments are restricted by poor knowledge of the distribution and quantity of these substances in different biota. Assessments on aquatic invertebrates are particularly scarce. Here, we investigate variation in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorines (OCs) in sediments, biofilms, macroinvertebrates and fish across rivers in South Wales (UK). Persistent PCB (−118, −153, −180) and PBDE congeners (BDE-47, -99, −100), and OCs (p,p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene [p,p’-DDE] and dieldrin [HEOD]) dominated the POPs detected, indicating links to historical emissions. Low concentrations of less persistent PBDEs, PCBs and OCs, however, suggest more contemporary sources. Concentrations of POPs were 2–22 times greater in fish than invertebrates, but their detection frequency (>90%) and concentrations (0–304 ng g−1 wet weight) were higher in these organisms than in sediments or biofilms (<10%; 0–12 ng g−1 wet weight). Invertebrates and fish also contained several PCB congeners (28, 52, 77 and 105) and p,p’-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p’-DDT) that were not detected in the environmental samples. Concentrations of PBDEs, PCBs and OCs differed among invertebrate taxa and feeding guilds. After controlling for significant variation among sample types and taxa, PBDEs were found to increase with urban land cover, while increased PCBs were associated with urban land cover and wastewater discharge. These data illustrate how body burdens of POPs across invertebrate and fish taxa provide valuable information on the spatial variation and likely sources of persistent pollutants in freshwater ecosystems. More work is required to resolve differences in POP contamination between taxonomic groups.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Water Research Institute (WATER)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0269-7491
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 September 2019
Date of Acceptance: 29 August 2019
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 23:57

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