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SFS Annual Meeting

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VARIABILITY OF TRACE-ELEMENT ACCUMULATION AMONG INVERTIVOROUS FISHES FROM A COASTAL PLAIN STREAM CONTAMINATED BY COAL COMBUSTION WASTE

Invertivorous fishes are an important and diverse portion of fish communities in many stream systems. Species can differ in body form, mouth position, habitat utilization, and feeding strategy. Vertical zone typically inhabited by a species can range from remaining near the water’s surface, through being suspended in the water column, to living on or near the bottom. Even among bottom dwelling species, species may inhabit swift runs, whereas others live in depositional zones where higher levels of contaminants settle out. Feeding strategy can also influence the amount of sediment ingested. Such factors can influence contaminant exposure and subsequent accumulation resulting in significant variability among fish species. Coal combustion waste contamination exposes aquatic organisms to a broad array of metals and metalloids, consequently patterns of accumulation of multiple elements can be compared among species. We assessed accumulation of 20 elements in over 500 muscle samples distributed across 36 species of invertivorous fish collected from a coastal plain stream contaminated by coal combustion waste on the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. Trace element accumulation differed among invertivorous fishes with differences both among and within body form and habitat use categories.

Brooke Lindell (Primary Presenter/Author), College of Charleston/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, lindellbe@g.cofc.edu;