Temporal fluctuations in young-of-the-year yellow perch mercury bioaccumulation in lakes of northeastern Minnesota

Randall K. Kolka, Charlotte E. Riggs, Edward A. Nater, Trent R. Wickman, Emma L. Witt, Jason T. Butcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Identifying what determines fish mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation remains a key scientific challenge. While there has been substantial research on spatial variation in fish Hg bioaccumulation, the factors that influence temporal fluctuations in fish Hg have received less attention to date. In this study, we built upon a growing body of research investigating young-of-the-year (YOY) yellow perch Hg bioaccumulation and investigated annual fluctuations in YOY yellow perch Hg in six lakes in northeastern Minnesota over eight years. After accounting for spatial variation between the study lakes, we used model averaging to identify the lake physiochemical and climate factors that best explain temporal variation in fish biomass and fish Hg. Fish biomass of YOY yellow perch had a positive relationship with chlorophyll-α and total Kjeldahl nitrogen and a negative relationship with dissolved iron and dissolved oxygen. There was a positive relationship between annual variation in yellow perch Hg concentration and annual variation in lake total suspended solids, dissolved Fe and pH. Additionally, there was a negative relationship between fish Hg concentration and lake total Kjeldahl nitrogen and growing degree days. Together, our results suggest that annual variation in allochthonous inputs from the watershed, in-lake processes, and climate variables can explain temporal patterns in Hg bioaccumulation and growth biodilution is an important process controlling yellow perch Hg concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-481
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Forest ecosystem
  • Growth biodilution
  • Mercury
  • Perca flavescens
  • Watershed

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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