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Mercury Stable Isotopes Discriminate Different Populations of European Seabass and Trace Potential Hg Sources around Europe

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2017, 00:00 by Alice Cransveld, David Amouroux, Emmanuel Tessier, Emmanuil Koutrakis, Ayaka A Ozturk, Nicola Bettoso, Cláudia L. Mieiro, Sylvain Bérail, Julien P. G. Barre, Nicolas Sturaro, Joseph Schnitzler, Krishna Das
Our study reports the first data on mercury (Hg) isotope composition in marine European fish, for seven distinct populations of the European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax. The use of δ202Hg and Δ199Hg values in SIBER enabled us to estimate Hg isotopic niches, successfully discriminating several populations. Recursive-partitioning analyses demonstrated the relevance of Hg stable isotopes as discriminating tools. Hg isotopic values also provided insight on Hg contamination sources for biota in coastal environment. The overall narrow range of δ202Hg around Europe was suggested to be related to a global atmospheric contamination while δ202Hg at some sites was linked either to background contamination, or with local contamination sources. Δ199Hg was related to Hg levels of fish but we also suggest a relation with ecological conditions. Throughout this study, results from the Black Sea population stood out, displaying a Hg cycling similar to fresh water lakes. Our findings bring out the possibility to use Hg isotopes in order to discriminate distinct populations, to explore the Hg cycle on a large scale (Europe) and to distinguish sites contaminated by global versus local Hg source. The interest of using Hg sable isotopes to investigate the whole European Hg cycle is clearly highlighted.