Mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs has created a human health concern for anglers who consume fish. Variability in sport fish Hg concentration adds to the uncertainty of the amount of fish an angler can safely consume, so predicting where variability arises is useful. We evaluated the relative influence of diet (prey Hg concentration and energy density) and sex on sport fish Hg concentrations using a bioenergetics approach. Our results indicated that sport fish diets (prey Hg concentration followed by energy density) were the most important factors for determining sport fish Hg concentration followed by sex. Although physiological and behavioral differences based on sex may lead to differences in gross growth efficiency, resulting in different Hg concentrations in male and female sport fish, evaluating the relative importance of these differences will require sex-specific parameterization of bioenergetics models. Our results support previous findings that knowledge of sport fish diets (prey Hg concentration followed by energy density) and sex could aid in the prediction of sport fish Hg concentrations. Thus, basic knowledge of system-specific food web structure could provide valuable information for developing sport fish consumption advisories to better protect anglers and their families from Hg contamination.
- Sexual dimorphism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal