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Open AccessArticle

Ratio of Mercury Concentration to PCB Concentration Varies with Sex of White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, 1451 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, 2800 Lakeshore Drive East, Ashland, WI 54806, USA
U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station, 6100 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Water Science Center, 8505 Research Way, Middleton, WI 53562, USA
Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, 680 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2018, 5(9), 94;
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 21 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
The whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in 25 mature female and 26 mature male white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) caught during their spawning run in the Kewaunee River, a tributary to Lake Michigan. The age of each fish was estimated using thin-sectioned otoliths, and total length (TL) and weight were determined for each fish. When adjusted for the effect of age, males were found to be 7% higher in Hg concentration than females. Nearly all (about 98%) of the Hg found in the white suckers was determined to be methylmercury. In an earlier study on the same 51 white suckers from the Kewaunee River spawning run, males were found to be 18% higher than females in polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration. We determined that the ratio of Hg concentration to PCB concentration in females was significantly higher than that in males. Thus, sex significantly interacted with contaminant type (Hg or PCBs) in determining contaminant concentrations. The most plausible explanation for this interaction was that males eliminated Hg at a faster rate than females, most likely due to the boosting of the Hg-elimination rate by certain androgens such as testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone. Hg concentrations in the white suckers were well below federal guidelines for fish consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: catostomids; fish consumption advisories; Hg; PCBs; sex differences; white sucker catostomids; fish consumption advisories; Hg; PCBs; sex differences; white sucker
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Madenjian, C.P.; Stevens, A.L.; Stapanian, M.A.; Krabbenhoft, D.P.; DeWild, J.F.; Ogorek, J.M.; Edwards, W.H.; Ogilvie, L.M.; McIntyre, P.B. Ratio of Mercury Concentration to PCB Concentration Varies with Sex of White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii). Environments 2018, 5, 94.

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