Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Toxic Contaminants in Salish Sea Biota

Description

Forage fishes such as herring (Clupea sp.), surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus), and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) are an important component in the marine food web as a food source for birds, fish, and marine mammals. In Puget Sound, despite on-going protection and restoration efforts, populations of forage fish appear to be in decline. One contributing factor to these declines might be exposure to toxic anthropogenic compounds in the water and sediment of Puget Sound. Contaminant concentrations previously have been measured in herring, but little is known regarding contaminant body burdens in Pacific sand lance—the focus of this research—or in surf smelt. Due to their burrowing habits, sand lance may be susceptible to increased exposure to sediment-bound anthropogenic chemicals by ingestion of and direct contact with contaminated sediments relative to non-burrowing fish like herring. In support of the USGS Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound program, sand lance were collected during 2010-14 from nine Puget Sound locations ranging from the South Sound (Eld Inlet, Nisqually Reach) to the North Sound (Samish Bay, Lopez Island), including historically contaminated urban areas (Eagle Harbor, Commencement Bay). Composites of whole-body fish tissue from each site were analyzed for a suite of toxic organic contaminants. Current-use chemicals such as chlorinated paraffins, alkylphenols, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as well as banned chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides were detected frequently in sand lance tissue throughout Puget Sound. Chemical concentrations were variable, likely reflecting differences in nearshore and basin land use, fish characteristics, and physio-chemical properties of each toxic chemical. A similar suite of contaminants has been measured in other Puget Sound biota, marine sediment, nearshore sediment, and river suspended sediment, suggesting persistent exposure of Puget Sound biota to toxic contaminants.

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Legacy and emerging toxic contaminants in Pacific sand lance throughout Puget Sound, Washington

2016SSEC

Forage fishes such as herring (Clupea sp.), surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus), and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) are an important component in the marine food web as a food source for birds, fish, and marine mammals. In Puget Sound, despite on-going protection and restoration efforts, populations of forage fish appear to be in decline. One contributing factor to these declines might be exposure to toxic anthropogenic compounds in the water and sediment of Puget Sound. Contaminant concentrations previously have been measured in herring, but little is known regarding contaminant body burdens in Pacific sand lance—the focus of this research—or in surf smelt. Due to their burrowing habits, sand lance may be susceptible to increased exposure to sediment-bound anthropogenic chemicals by ingestion of and direct contact with contaminated sediments relative to non-burrowing fish like herring. In support of the USGS Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound program, sand lance were collected during 2010-14 from nine Puget Sound locations ranging from the South Sound (Eld Inlet, Nisqually Reach) to the North Sound (Samish Bay, Lopez Island), including historically contaminated urban areas (Eagle Harbor, Commencement Bay). Composites of whole-body fish tissue from each site were analyzed for a suite of toxic organic contaminants. Current-use chemicals such as chlorinated paraffins, alkylphenols, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as well as banned chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides were detected frequently in sand lance tissue throughout Puget Sound. Chemical concentrations were variable, likely reflecting differences in nearshore and basin land use, fish characteristics, and physio-chemical properties of each toxic chemical. A similar suite of contaminants has been measured in other Puget Sound biota, marine sediment, nearshore sediment, and river suspended sediment, suggesting persistent exposure of Puget Sound biota to toxic contaminants.