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Environ Pollut. 2008 Jul;154(1):107-15. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.12.032. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

Lake variability: key factors controlling mercury concentrations in New York State fish.

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  • 1New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Rome Field Station, 8314 Fish Hatchery Road, Rome, NY 13440, USA. hasimoni@gw.dec.state.ny.us


A 4year study surveyed 131 lakes across New York State beginning in 2003 to improve our understanding of mercury and gather information from previously untested waters. Our study focused on largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye and yellow perch, common piscivorous fish shown to accumulate high mercury concentrations and species important to local fisheries. Fish from Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve lakes generally had higher mercury concentrations than those from lakes in other areas of the state. Variability between nearby individual lakes was observed, and could be due to differences in water chemistry, lake productivity or the abundance of wetlands in the watershed. We found the following factors impact mercury bioaccumulation: fish length, lake pH, specific conductivity, chlorophyll a, mercury concentration in the water, presence of an outlet dam and amount of contiguous wetlands.

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