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Seasonal variation of total mercury and condition indices of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in Northern Québec, Canada.


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Martyniuk, Mackenzie Anne Clifford; Couture, Patrice ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1944-5136; Tran, Lilian; Beaupré, Laurie et Power, Michael (2020). Seasonal variation of total mercury and condition indices of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in Northern Québec, Canada. Science of The Total Environment , vol. 738 . p. 139450. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139450.

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The winter ecology of anadromous Arctic charr, an important fish species for Indigenous populations, has remained poorly detailed in the literature beyond descriptions of seasonal fasting and resulting declines in condition. However, prolonged periods of reduced feeding can have significant consequences for other variables, such as tissue contaminant levels. To more thoroughly detail seasonal changes, biological information (fork length, total weight, age, sex, somatic condition), stable isotopes (δ13C, % carbon, δ15N, % nitrogen), dorsal muscle % lipid, caloric densities, and total mercury (THg) concentrations were assessed in anadromous Arctic charr collected from Deception Bay, Canada, during the summer and over-wintering periods. Significant reductions in somatic condition, total weight, and % nitrogen, consistent with prolonged periods of fasting, were found for post-winter captured Arctic charr, but % lipid and caloric densities were significantly higher in these fish. THg also varied seasonally and was significantly higher in summer collected tissue. When tested individually via linear regression, significant relationships were seasonally dependent, but limited in number. All previously mentioned parameters were then incorporated into multi-variable models which better explained variations in the data. While there was no clear best model for explaining the % lipid values, caloric densities, and THg, season, condition, and stable isotope values (% carbon and % nitrogen) were the best indicators of % lipid content and caloric densities. THg concentrations were best explained by total weight, somatic condition, and δ13C. Seasonal variation in fish condition measures and THg may be indicative of condition selective mortality that yields apparent improvement through the disproportionate removal of poorer conditioned fish from the population during the over-wintering period. This hypothesis was further supported by mortality estimates and the results of the multi-predictor variable models. Collectively, this research highlights the importance of understanding seasonal dynamics for anadromous Arctic charr populations.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: arctic charr; total mercury; Nunavik; seasonal variation; condition; lipid content; caloric density
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 16 sept. 2020 15:11
Dernière modification: 16 mai 2022 04:00
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/10372

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