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Riparian spiders: Sentinels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran-contaminated sediment

February 3, 2023

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) are persistent, toxic, and bioaccumulative. Currently, PCDD/F monitoring programs primarily use fish and birds with potentially large home ranges to monitor temporal trends over broad spatial scales; sentinel organisms that provide targeted sediment contaminant information across small geographic areas have yet to be developed. Riparian orb-weaving spiders, which typically have small home ranges and consume primarily adult aquatic insects, are potential PCDD/F sentinels. Recent studies have demonstrated that spider tissue concentrations indicate the source and magnitude of dioxin-like chlorinated compounds in contaminated sediments, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Our aim in the present study was to assess the utility of riparian spiders as sentinels for PCDD/F-contaminated sediments. We measured PCDD/F (total [Σ] and homologs) in surface sediments and spiders collected from three sites within the St. Louis River basin (Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA). We then compared (1) patterns in ΣPCDD/F concentrations between sediment and spiders, (2) the distribution of homologs within sediments and spiders when pooled across sites, and (3) the relationship between sediment and spider concentrations of PCDD/F homologs across 13 stations sampled across the three sites. The ΣPCDD/F concentrations in sediment (mean ± standard error 286 591 ± 97 614 pg/g) were significantly higher than those in riparian spiders (2463 ± 977 pg/g, p < 0.001), but the relative abundance of homologs in sediment and spiders were not significantly different. Spider homolog concentrations were significantly and positively correlated with sediment concentrations across a gradient of sediment PCDD/F contamination (R2 = 0.47, p < 0.001). Our results indicate that, as has been shown for other legacy organic chemicals like PCBs, riparian spiders are suitable sentinels of PCDD/F in contaminated sediment.

Publication Year 2023
Title Riparian spiders: Sentinels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran-contaminated sediment
DOI 10.1002/etc.5531
Authors Gale B. Beaubien, Dalon P. White, David Walters, Ryan R. Otter, Ken M. Fritz, Brian Crone, Marc A. Mills
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Index ID 70240275
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center