Temporal and Longitudinal Mercury Trends in Burbot (Lota lota) in the Russian Arctic. Academic Article uri icon


  • Current understanding of mercury (Hg) dynamics in the Arctic is hampered by a lack of data in the Russian Arctic region, which comprises about half of the entire Arctic watershed. This study quantified temporal and longitudinal trends in total mercury (THg) concentrations in burbot (Lota lota) in eight rivers of the Russian Arctic between 1980 and 2001, encompassing an expanse of 118 degrees of longitude. Burbot THg concentrations declined by an average of 2.6% annually across all eight rivers during the study period, decreasing by 39% from 0.171 ?g g-1 wet weight (w.w.) in 1980 to 0.104 ?g g-1 w.w. in 2001. THg concentrations in burbot also declined by an average of 1.8% per 10° of longitude from west to east across the study area between 1988 and 2001. These results, in combination with those of previous studies, suggest that Hg trends in Arctic freshwater fishes before 2001 were spatially and temporally heterogeneous, as those in the North American Arctic were mostly increasing while those in the Russian Arctic were mostly decreasing. It is suggested that Hg trends in Arctic animals may be influenced by both depositional and postdepositional processes.

publication date

  • November 21, 2017