Mercury accumulation in yellow perch in Wisconsin seepage lakes: Relation to lake characteristics

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



We studied relations between lacustrine characteristics and the total mercury (Hg) content of calendar age-2 yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in 10 seepage lakes in north-central Wisconsin. Mean concentrations and burdens (masses) of Hg in whole perch varied widely among lakes, were negatively correlated with lake pH and were positively correlated with total Hg concentration in surficial profundal sediment. Approximately 80 to 90% of the variation in Hg concentration and burden in whole perch was explained with multiple regressions containing two independent variables: either lake pH or alkalinity, and Hg concentration in surficial sediment. Variation among lakes in the Hg concentration in yellow perch was unrelated to their relative rates of growth. The mean concentration of Hg in axial muscle tissue of age-5 walleyes (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) from five of the study lakes was highly correlated with the mean concentration in whole age-2 perch in the same lakes. We hypothesized that the high Hg concentrations often seen in piscivorous fish in low-alkalinity lakes (relative to high-alkalinity lakes) is at least partly due to a greater dietary intake of Hg in such waters. Furthermore, the analysis of small yellow perch—the preferred prey of adult walleyes and an important forage species for many predatory fishes in the north-central United States—may be an effective approach to assessing Hg bioavailability in the region's lakes.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury accumulation in yellow perch in Wisconsin seepage lakes: Relation to lake characteristics
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.5620090711
Volume 9
Issue 7
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description 10 p.
First page 931
Last page 940
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