Contaminant Bioaccumulation through Food Webs

Science Center Objects

This is a broad theme representing the largest component of the Contaminant Ecology Research Program, acting as a bridge between the “Habitat and Land Use Influences” and “Ecological Effects” themes. “Contaminant Bioaccumulation” focuses on quantifying the transfer or movement of contaminants through food webs, and identifying the primary landscape factors and ecological mechanisms that are responsible for the variation in transfer rates among habitats and ecosystems. This theme largely follows the classic community ecology approach of quantifying energy flow through ecosystems, investigating interspecies interactions, and evaluating the demographic responses of species to various disturbances. As opposed to simply measuring contaminant trends in top predators, this ecological foundation provides a powerful framework in which to investigate the movement of contaminants through ecosystems that is explicitly based on how the ecosystems function. As such, results contribute to the body of knowledge regarding how ecological interactions contribute to contaminant cycling.

Active Projects

  • Western North America Mercury Synthesis: A Landscape-scale Analysis of Mercury Cycling, Bioaccumulation, and Risk Linking Long-term Datasets
  • Mercury Bioaccumulation in Fish from High-Elevation Lakes in National Parks across the Western United States
  • Off-channel Habitats in the Willamette River: Implications for Methylmercury Cycling, Bioaccumulation, and Risk
  • Effects of Non-native Fishes on Mercury Bioaccumulation and Risk to Pond-breeding Salamanders in Olympic National Park
  • Mercury Bioaccumulation in Terrestrial Songbirds and the Influence of Aquatic Energy Subsidies
  • Mercury Cycling and Ecological Risk across Habitats in Mount Rainier National Park
  • The Effects of Wetland Restoration on Mercury Bioaccumulation in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project: Using the Biosentinel Toolbox to Monitor Changes across Multiple Habitats and Spatial Scales
  • Mercury Cycling and Bioaccumulation across the Aleutian Archipelago: Landscape Patterns of Wildlife Risk within the North Pacific Ocean
  • Mercury Contamination in Waterbird Eggs and Risk to Avian Reproduction at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Great Salt Lake
  • Incorporating Wildlife Mercury Exposure and Risk Estimates Using Biomagnification Factors into BOG California Lake Monitoring
  • Mercury Bioaccumulation in Waterbodies of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
  • Mercury Exposure and Risk to Purple Martins Breeding in the Willamette Valley, Oregon