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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Feb 15;41(4):1075-84.

Biologically mediated transport of contaminants to aquatic systems.

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Program for Chemical and Environmental Toxicology, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada.


The prevailing view is that long-range transport of semivolatile contaminants is primarily conducted by the physical system (e.g., winds, currents), and biological transport is typically ignored. Although this view may be correct in terms of bulk budgets and fluxes, it neglects the potential of animals to focus contaminants into foodwebs due to their behaviors and lifecycles. In particular, gregarious animals that biomagnify and bioaccumulate certain contaminants and then migrate and congregate can become the predominant pathway for contaminants in many circumstances. Fish and birds provide prominent examples for such behavior. This review examines the potential for biovector transport to expose populations to contaminants. In addition, we apply a modeling approach to compare the potential of biovector transport to other physical transport pathways for a hypothetical lake receiving large numbers of fish. We conclude that biovector transport should not be neglected when considering environmental risks of biomagnifying contaminants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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