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Dedication

This volume is dedicated to the memory of my mentors:

Yohay Bin-Nun

Lauren R. Donaldson

Morton I. Grossman

Clarence P. Idyll

Frank G. Lowman

James E. Lynch

Lionel A. Walford

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Books by Ronald Eisler

About the Author

List of Tables – Vol. 2

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Elasmobranchs

Chapter 3: Fishes

Chapter 4: Reptiles

Chapter 5: Birds

Chapter 6: Mammals

Chapter 7: Concluding Remarks

Subject Index

Acknowledgments

Early work on this project was conducted at research libraries of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Library of Medicine. During the past several years, all work was conducted at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture located in Beltsville, Maryland. I am obligated to the librarians and staff of the NAL for their assistance in procuring needed research materials.

Books by Ronald Eisler

2010. Compendium of Trace Metals and Marine Biota. Volume 1: Plants and Invertebrates, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 638 pp.

2007. Eisler’s Encyclopedia of Environmentally Hazardous Priority Chemicals, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 950 pp.

2006. Mercury Hazards to Living Organisms, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 312 pp.

2004. Biogeochemical, Health, and Ecotoxicological Perspectives on Gold and Gold Mining, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 356 pp.

2000. Handbook of Chemical Risk Assessment: Health Hazards to Humans, Plants, and Animals. Vol. 1, Metals; Vol. 2, Organics; Vol.3, Metalloids, Radiation, Cumulative Index to Chemicals and Species, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, 1903 pp.

1981. Trace Metal Concentrations in Marine Organisms, Pergamon Press, Elmsford, New York, 687 pp.

About the Author

Ronald Eisler received the B.A. degree from New York University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. As a research scientist, he served with the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Territory of Alaska (Bristol Bay), New Jersey (Highlands), Maryland (Laurel), and Washington, DC; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Rhode Island (Narragansett); and military service in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps in Colorado (Denver). In addition to federal service, he was a research assistant at the University of Miami Marine Laboratory (Coral Gables, Florida), a radiochemist at the Laboratory of Radiation Ecology at the University of Washington (Seattle), an aquatic biologist at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Raybrook), and the senior science advisor to the American Fisheries Society (Bethesda, Maryland). Dr. Eisler has participated in research and monitoring studies in the Pacific Northwest, the Territory of Alaska, Colorado, the Marshall and Marianas Islands, all along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Atlantic coast, the Adirondacks region of New York, the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1955 he has authored more than 150 technical articles—including several books and 16 book chapters—mainly on contaminant hazards to plants, animals, and human health, with emphasis on trace metals. He has held several adjunct professor appointments and taught for extended periods at the Graduate School of Oceanography of the University of Rhode Island, and the Department of Biology of American University in Washington, DC. He also served as Visiting Professor and Resident Director of Hebrew University’s Marine Biology Laboratory in Eilat, Israel. In retirement, he actively consults and writes on chemical risk assessment.

Eisler resides in Potomac, Maryland, with his wife, Jeannette, a teacher of French and Spanish.

List of Tables – Vol. 2

Table 1.1: Symbol, Atomic Number, and Atomic Weight of the Known Elements

Table 2.1: Arsenic Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.2: Cadmium and Chromium Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.3: Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.4: Iron and Lead Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.5: Manganese Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.6: Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.7: Nickel, Selenium, Silver, and Tin Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 2.8: Zinc Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Table 3.1: Antimony Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.2: Arsenic Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.3: Cadmium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.4: Cesium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.5: Chromium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.6: Cobalt Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.7: Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.8: Iron Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.9: Lead Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.10: Manganese Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.11: Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.12: Molybdenum Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.13: Nickel Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.14: Rhenium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, and Scandium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.15: Selenium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.16: Silver Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.17: Strontium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.18: Tellurium, Thallium, Tin, Titanium, and Tungsten Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.19: Vanadium Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 3.20: Zinc Concentrations in Field Collections of Fishes

Table 4.1: Cadmium Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.2: Aluminum, Arsenic, and Barium Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.3: Chromium and Cobalt Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.4: Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.5: Iron, Lead, and Manganese in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.6: Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.7: Nickel and Selenium Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 4.8: Zinc Concentrations in Field Collections of Reptiles

Table 5.1: Aluminum, Arsenic, and Boron Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.2: Cadmium Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.3: Chromium and Cobalt Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.4: Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.5: Iron Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.6: Lead Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.7: Lithium and Manganese Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.8: Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.9: Molybdenum, Nickel, and Rubidium Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.10: Selenium Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.11: Silver, Strontium, and Tin Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 5.12: Zinc Concentrations in Field Collections of Birds

Table 6.1: Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, and Boron Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.2: Cadmium Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.3: Chromium, Cobalt, and Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.4: Iron Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.5: Lead Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.6: Manganese Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.7: Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.8: Molybdenum, Nickel, and Rubidium Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.9: Selenium Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.10: Silver, Strontium, Tin, and Vanadium Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 6.11: Zinc Concentrations in Field Collections of Mammals

Table 7.1: Trace Metals and Marine Vertebrates: Breadth of Coverage

Table 7.2: Trace Metals and Marine Vertebrates: Depth of Coverage

Introduction

The first major attempt to systematically summarize all that was known about trace metal and metalloid content of marine biota was Vinogradov’s classic The Elementary Chemical Composition of Marine Organisms (Vinogradov, 1953) and the last was Trace Metal Concentrations in Marine Organisms (Eisler, 1981). At that time, I recommended major revision in about 25 years owing to a growing technical literature and to a greater availability of atomic absorption spectroscopy and newer analytical techniques that accurately measure trace metal concentrations in tissues of marine plants and animals at biologically significant levels.

This volume on vertebrates—and the companion volume on marine plants and invertebrates (Eisler, 2009)—has two main objectives. The first is to summarize the available world literature on trace metal and metalloid concentrations in tissues of representative field populations of marine, estuarine, and oceanic elasmobranchs; fishes, reptiles, birds, and mammals; and their significance to organisms’ health and their consumers. The database in this subject area alone has more than doubled in the past 25 years. Information on the following elements are presented: aluminum, americium, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth, boron, cadmium, cerium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, copper, europium, gallium, germanium, gold, indium, iron, lanthanum, lead, lithium, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, neptunium, nickel, niobium, palladium, platinum, plutonium, polonium, radium, rhenium, rubidium, ruthenium, scandium, selenium, silver, strontium, technetium, tellurium, thallium, thorium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, yttrium, zinc, and zirconium (Table 1.1). Information on sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium were especially abundant, but these were excluded as their concentrations in marine vertebrates were almost always in excess of the 100.0 mg/kg dry weight limit that I set arbitrarily as a trace concentration.

Table 1.1          Symbol, Atomic Number, and Atomic Weight of the Known Elements

a  Most stable or best known isotope.

b  Yet to be reported.

The second objective is to synthesize existing information on biological, chemical, and physical factors known to modify uptake, retention, and translocation of each element by selected groups of marine vertebrates under field and laboratory conditions. Recognition of the importance of these modifiers and their accompanying interactions is essential to the understanding of metal kinetics in marine systems and to the interpretation of baseline residue data in marine vertebrates. It is emphasized that major changes are now being recorded in global climate extremes and in the amounts of metals, metalloids, and other contaminants discharged into the biosphere as a result of human activities; these changes, and others, may ultimately render obsolete certain terms—now used liberally in this volume—such as controls, reference site, and environmentally pristine area. In many cases, the relations between concentrations of these elements in tissues have little relation to concentrations of the same element in the animal’s immediate geophysical environment, including sediments, sediment interstitial waters, diet, and water column. The reasons for this are explored, and their role examined in formulation of proposed criteria to protect natural resources and their consumers.

The organization of this book is similar to that of my earlier work on this subject (Eisler, 1981): chapters are arranged in evolutionary order from most primitive to most advanced; within each chapter, metals are arranged in alphabetical order; and, finally, all concentrations are listed in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg = parts per million) on a fresh weight (FW), dry weight (DW), or ash weight (AW) basis. In all tables, concentrations shown in parentheses represent the range of values documented; others, the arithmetic means.

1.1Literature Cited

Eisler R. Trace Metal Concentrations in Marine Organisms 1981 Pergamon, Elmsford New York 687

Eisler R. Compendium of Trace Metals and Marine Biota. Volume 1: Plants and Invertebrates 2009 Elsevier Amsterdam

Vinogradov A.P. The elementary chemical composition of marine organisms Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Memoir 2 1953 Yale University New Haven, Connecticut 647

Elasmobranchs

The elasmobranchs comprise a group of fish-like vertebrates that includes the sharks and rays. They are often ranked as a subclass of the Teleostei, but differ so fundamentally from the bony fishes that it is best to recognize them as a distinct class. Typical elasmobranchs contain an internal cartilaginous skeleton, cartilaginous jaws, skin with denticles structurally similar to teeth, and with a series of 5-7 gill openings laterally in sharks and ventrally in rays and skates. This is an extremely primitive and successful group, with fossil remains of living species known from the Cretaceous and Jurassic eras.

Geographically, elasmobranchs are mostly restricted to tropical and subtropical seas; however, many species regularly inhabit temperate waters, possibly as strays, and some, mostly bottom dwellers, are cosmopolitan in distribution. There is a growing literature on trace metal composition of elasmobranchs.

2.1 Americium

Encased embryos of the spotted dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, were exposed for 15 days to ²⁴¹Am and then transferred to unlabeled seawater for 21 days (Jeffree et al., 2006). During uptake, more than 98% of the ²⁴¹Am was associated with the egg case and less than 1% with the embryo; very small percentages were found in both yolk and jelly. After 21 days in unlabeled seawater, about half the ²⁴¹Am remained, with egg case containing nearly 99% and most of the rest in kidney. Uptake rate of ²⁴¹Am was low when compared to radioisotopes of zinc, manganese, cobalt, and cadmium, in that order. Net influx through the egg case during 96 h exposure for ²⁴¹Am was equivalent to a concentration factor over seawater of >1000 in the outer layer and about 100 in the inner layer. Juveniles took up about 30 times more ²⁴¹Am than did encased embryos under similar conditions (Jeffree et al., 2006).

2.2 Arsenic

Mean arsenic content in 10 species of Mediterranean Sea sharks was highest in muscle of ghost shark, Chimaera monstrosa (52.4 mg/kg fresh weight, FW) and in liver of the longnose spurdog, Squalus blainvillei (14.2 mg/kg FW; Table 2.1). Interspecies concentration  differences of arsenic in liver and muscle of Mediterranean Sea sharks ranged widely (Table 2.1) and is attributed to inherent species differences, diet, environmental arsenic in the biosphere, tissue, depth of collection, and body size (Storelli and Marcotrigiano, 2004; Storelli et al., 2003). Arsenic (and other metals and metalloids measured) in tissues of the hammerhead shark, Sphyrna zygaena, was similar to uptake patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls, suggesting significant interactions (Storelli et al., 2003). In general, tissues with high lipid content, such as liver and yolk, contain elevated arsenic concentrations; however, high arsenic concentrations were also measured in muscle of the gummy shark, Mustelus antarcticus (30.0 mg/kg FW) and muscle of a ray, Raja sp. (16.2 mg/kg FW; Table 2.1).

Table 2.1        Arsenic Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg As/kg fresh weight (FW) or dry weight (DW).

a  1, Zingde et al., 1976; 2, Windom et al., 1973; 3, Glover, 1979; 4, LeBlanc and Jackson, 1973; 5, Hanaoka and Tagawa, 1985; 6, Goessler et al., 1998; 7, Storelli and Marcotrigiano, 2004; 8, Storelli et al., 2003; 9, De Gieter et al., 2002.

The major form of arsenic in shark tissues is arsenobetaine (Goessler et al., 1998; Hanaoka and Tagawa, 1985; Hanaoka et al., 1993), a relatively harmless arsenic compound (Eisler, 2000). Degradation of arsenobetaine in muscle and liver of the star spotted shark (Mustelus manazo) to comparatively toxic inorganic arsenic species occurs in a natural environment and suggests that arsenobetaine bioconverted from inorganic arsenic in seawater is degraded to the original inorganic arsenic; about 13% of the arsenobetaine in shark muscle and 4% in liver was degraded to inorganic arsenic within 40 days (Hanaoka et al., 1993).

2.3 Cadmium

Cadmium concentrations in elasmobranchs were usually low, seldom exceeding 0.3 mg Cd/kg FW tissue, although liver cadmium in male hammerhead sharks ranged from 18.4 to 21.0 mg Cd/kg FW (Storelli et al., 2003; Table 2.2). Cadmium burdens in various tissues and organs of nine species of sharks and rays from the North Atlantic Ocean coast were, with some exceptions, always less than 0.5 mg Cd/kg DW (dry weight) tissue (Windom et al., 1973). Comparatively, high cadmium concentrations of 5.0 and 2.6 mg/kg DW were recorded in liver and kidney, respectively, of silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformes; 2.1 in muscle of dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus; and 3.7 in stomach of spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias (Windom et al., 1973). The hepatic cadmium burden in thorny skate, Raja radiata, collected in 1993 from the Gulf of St. Lawrence was three times higher than in conspecifics  from the St. Lawrence estuary 600 km inland, and is reportedly related to the higher cadmium concentrations in Gulf sediments that were reflected in cadmium content of prey (Rouleau et al., 2006).

Table 2.2    Cadmium and Chromium Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg metal/kg fresh weight (FW) or dry weight (DW).

a  1, Eustace, 1974; 2, Glover, 1979; 3, Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b; 4, Pentreath, 1977a; 5, Bernhard and Zattera, 1975; 6, Cornish et al., 2007; 7, Marcovecchio et al., 1991; 8, Storelli et al., 2003.

Cadmium uptake by the thornback ray, Raja clavata, was studied under laboratory conditions by Pentreath (1977a). He found that R. clavata retained cadmium from food, with highest accumulations in liver; cadmium was also taken up from seawater, but this was not as important a route as diet. Encased embryos of the spotted dogfish were held for 15 days in seawater containing ¹⁰⁹Cd, then transferred to cadmium-free seawater for 21 days (Jeffree et al., 2006). Concentration factors from seawater during uptake were about 0.4 for embryo, 1.2 for yolk, 1.3 for jelly, and 957.0 for case. At the end of the 21-day depuration period,  these values were 0.1 for embryo, 0.02 for yolk, 0.02 for jelly, and 99.8 for case; the absolute amount of ¹⁰⁹Cd declined by a factor near 2 (Jeffree et al., 2006).

2.4 Cerium

Radiocerium-144 activity levels in R. clavata from a ¹⁴⁴Ce-contaminated area were highest in stomach tissues, suggesting that diet is the major route for cerium accumulation in this species (Mauchline and Taylor, 1964).

2.5 Cesium

Radiocesium-137 is soluble and tends to remain in seawater (Mauchline and Taylor, 1964); the highest ¹³⁷Cs levels measured in the thornback ray, R. clavata, collected near a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility were in stomach contents, with lower and similar levels in all other tissues measured. Jefferies and Hewett (1971) aver that the biological half-times of ¹³⁴Cs in various tissues of R. clavata ranged from a low of 89 days in kidney to 219 days in cartilage. Intermediate half-times of 105-142 days were measured in gut, gills, and liver; 154-189 days for muscle, skin, and blood; and 180 days for whole animal. After 720 days, tissues with the highest ¹³⁴Cs accumulations relative to the medium were gut (5.8×), kidney (5.7×), and muscle (5.7×). Lowest accumulation relative to the medium was in blood (0.6×). In general, there was increasing accumulation with increasing length of exposure (Jefferies and Hewett, 1971).

Encased embryos of spotted dogfish, S. canicula, were exposed for 15 days to ¹³⁴Cs then transferred to unlabeled seawater for 21 days (Jeffree et al., 2006). At day 15, 10% of the total ¹³⁴Cs activity was associated with the embryo, 20% with the jelly, >69% with the case, and a small percentage with the yolk. This is in sharp contrast to results of studies with ⁶⁵Zn, ⁵⁴Mn, ⁵⁷Co, ¹⁰⁹Cd, and ²⁴¹Am wherein >98% of the radioactivity was associated with the case (Jeffree et al., 2006). Embryo to water concentration factor ranged from 0.14 for ¹³⁴Cs to 7.4 for ⁶⁵Zn, and this may account for the high embryo uptake of ¹³⁴Cs. After 21 days in unlabeled seawater, the egg case contained 87.5% of the total radioactivity, the embryo 10%, and the jelly 3% (Jeffree et al., 2006). Net influx of ¹³⁴Cs through the egg case of spotted dogfish during 96 h was about 3 in the external layer—versus ²⁴¹Am and ⁶⁰Co with concentration factors of >1000—and about 1.5 in the interior layers versus about 100 for ²⁴¹Am and ⁶⁰Co (Jeffree et al., 2007).

2.6 Chromium

Smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis, from the New York Bight and Long Island Sound had chromium burdens below analytical detection limits. In muscle, this value was less than 0.3 mg Cr/kg FW; in liver, it was less than 0.8 mg/kg FW (Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b).

Sharks collected in the vicinity of Hong Kong, China, usually contained 0.1-0.5 mg Cr/kg FW in muscle, liver, and spleen, with maximum concentrations of about 1.0 mg Cr/kg FW (Table 2.2; Cornish et al., 2007). Tissue concentrations of chromium in the bamboo shark tend to decrease with increasing body weight (Cornish et al., 2007).

2.7 Cobalt

Encased embryos of spotted dogfish, S. canicula, were held in seawater containing ⁵⁷Co for 15 days then transferred to cobalt-free media for 21 days (Jeffree et al., 2006). At day 15, 99.4% of the total radioactivity was in egg case and about 0.3% in embryo. At day 21 postexposure, total radioactivity had declined about 21%, at which time mean concentration factors were about 3.0 for embryo, 0.2 for yolk, 1031.6 for case, and 7.1 for jelly; more than 99% of the total ⁵⁷Co radioactivity was in the case (Jeffree et al., 2006). Net influx of ⁶⁰Co through the egg case, as was true for ²⁴¹Am, was >1000 in the outer layer and about 100 in the inner layer (Jeffree et al., 2007).

2.8 Copper

The highest copper concentrations recorded in elasmobranch tissues were 56.3 mg Cu/kg FW in spleen of the bamboo shark collected near Hong Kong in 2003-2004, 12.1 mg/kg FW in skin of sharks from British waters, 44.0 mg Cu/kg DW in liver of the clearnose skate, and 230.0 mg Cu/kg AW (ash weight) in liver of the oceanic whitetip shark (Table 2.3). Among rays, liver always contained the highest copper concentrations of all tissues examined (Table 2.3). Among sharks collected in British waters, copper concentrations in all tissues are highest from inshore demersal species and lowest from offshore pelagic species, with males having higher copper concentrations in liver than females (Vas, 1991). Copper burdens in tissues of marine vertebrates, including elasmobranchs were consistently lower than copper tissue burdens from all invertebrate groups examined (Eisler, 1979), suggesting discrimination against copper among the highest marine trophic levels. Moreover, tissue copper concentrations in elasmobranchs tend to decrease with increasing body weight (Cornish et al., 2007).

Table 2.3      Copper Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg Cu/kg fresh weight (FW), dry weight (DW), or ash weight (AW).

a  1, Lowman et al., 1966; 2, Windom et al., 1973; 3, Zingde et al., 1976; 4, Eustace, 1974; 5, Glover, 1979; 6, Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b; 7, Vas, 1991; 8, Cornish et al., 2007; 9, Storelli et al., 2003.

Spiny dogfish, S. acanthias can survive immersion in 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 mg Cu/L for 96 h; however, all concentrations induced acidosis, and lactate accumulation (De Boeck et al., 2007). At all exposures, plasma Na+ and Cl− concentrations increased, urea excretion increased, and plasma urea dropped. At high copper levels, gill Na+/K+-ATPase activities were reduced by 45% (1.0 mg/L) and 62% (1.5 mg/L). Copper accumulations significantly increased in gill (3.2 mg Cu/kg DW in controls vs. 21.6 in 0.5, 41.0 in 1.0, and 142.4 in 1.5 mg Cu/L), plasma (8.6 mg/kg DW in controls vs. 13.3-20.0 mg/kg DW in experimentals), and kidney (5.7 DW in controls vs. 8.5, 26.4, and 82.7 mg Cu/kg DW in experimentals). Authors conclude that copper exerts a toxic effect on Na+/K+-ATPase activities in sharks similar to those of teleosts, but there is an additional toxic action on elasmobranch urea retention (De Boeck et al., 2007).

2.9 Iron

Blood and highly vascularized tissues in the thornback ray, R. clavata contained the highest concentrations of total iron, with a maximum recorded value of 109.8 mg Fe/kg FW in spleen (Table 2.4). After 20 days immersion in radioactive iron-59 solutions, whole thornback rays contained 20 times more ⁵⁹Fe than ambient seawater, with most iron probably in hematopoietic tissues. The significance of decreasing iron concentrations in sandbar shark vertebrae with increasing age of the organism is not clear (Table 13.4), but might be associated positively with calcium and zinc, and negatively with magnesium (Eisler, 1967).

Table 2.4    Iron and Lead Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg metal/kg fresh weight (FW) or ash weight (AW).

a  1, Eisler, 1967; 2, Pentreath, 1973; 3, Cornish et al., 2007; 4, Storelli et al., 2003.

2.10 Lead

Smooth dogfish, M. canis from Long Island Sound and the New York Bight always contained less than 0.8 mg Pb/kg FW in liver and muscle (Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b). Mean concentrations in tissues of sharks from the Hong Kong vicinity range up to 3.8 mg Pb/kg FW in liver, 1.9 in muscle, and 0.2 mg Pb/kg FW in spleen (Table 2.4; Cornish et al., 2007).

2.11 Manganese

Except for cartilage and skin, which contain 9.1 and 2.7 mg Mn/kg FW, respectively, most elasmobranch tissues contain less than 1.0 mg Mn/kg FW (Table 2.5). Intermediate values were recorded in liver, kidney, gill filaments, and rectal gland (Table 2.5). Tissue manganese concentrations tend to decrease with increasing body weight (Cornish et al., 2007).

Table 2.5    Manganese Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg Mn/kg fresh weight (FW) or dry weight (DW).

a  1, Zingde et al., 1976; 2, Eustace, 1974; 3, Glover, 1979; 4, Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b; 5, Pentreath, 1973; 6, Cornish et al., 2007.

Encased embryos of spotted dogfish were exposed for 15 days to ⁵⁴Mn; then transferred to unlabeled seawater for 21 days (Jeffree et al., 2006). At day 15, 98.5% of the total radioactivity was in egg case, 0.54% in embryo, 0.06% in jelly, and 0.05% in yolk. After 21 days of depuration, total ⁵⁴Mn radioactivity had declined 56%; of the total, 97.2% was in the case and 0.18% in the embryo (Jeffree et al., 2006).

2.12 Mercury

Total mercury concentrations in tissues and organs of nine species of North Atlantic Ocean sharks and rays were usually less than 2.0 mg Hg/kg tissue on a DW basis; however, comparatively elevated burdens were measured in muscle (5.3 mg/kg DW) and gonads of Carcharhinus falciformis, in muscle (4.2 mg/kg DW) of C. obscurus (Windom et al., 1973), and in liver (39.5 mg/kg FW) and muscle (21.1 mg/kg FW) of the common hammerhead, S. zygaena (Storelli et al., 2002, 2003; Table 2.6).

Table 2.6            Mercury Concentrations in Field Collections of Elasmobranchs

Values are in mg Hg/kg fresh weight (FW) or dry weight (DW).

a  1, Greig and Wenzloff, 1977a,b; 2, Menasveta and Siriyong, 1977; 3, Gardner et al., 1975; 4, Kureishy et al., 1979; 5, Cumont et al., 1975; 6, Bloom and Ayling, 1977; 7, Ratkowsky et al., 1975; 8, Glover, 1979; 9, Pentreath, 1976; 10, Childs and Gaffke, 1973; 11, Hall et al., 1977; 12, Forrester et al., 1972; 13, Greig et al., 1977; 14, Childs et al., 1973; 15, Joiris et al., 1997; 16, Leah et al., 1991; 17, Lyle, 1984; 18, Branco et al., 2007; 19, Storelli and Marcotrigiano, 2002; 20, Hornung et al., 1993; 21, Storelli et al., 2002; 22, de Pinho et al., 2002; 23, Marcovecchio et al., 1991; 24, Storelli et al., 2003; 25, De Marco et al., 2006; 26, Cai et al., 2007; 27, Al-Reasi et al., 2007; 28, Baeyens et al., 2003.

Total mercury and organomercury concentrations in muscle of blue shark, Prionace glauca, are positively correlated with shark length (Branco et al., 2007). Mercury concentrations in muscle of five species of sharks from coastal waters of Brazil increased with increasing shark length; most of the mercury (63-95%) was methylmercury (de Pinho et al., 2002). Forrester et al. (1972) report that sex, length, and collection area influenced mercury levels in muscle of the spiny dogfish, S. acanthias. For any given body length above 65 cm, the mercury content was higher in males than in females, and higher in samples taken in the Fraser River estuary than other areas of the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Methylmercury levels in shark muscle were significantly higher in males than in females (de Pinho et al., 2002).

High uptake of mercury from seawater by the thornback ray, R. clavata, is documented by Pentreath (1976). Uptake was greater with methylmercury salts than inorganic divalent mercury salts, and retention was longer with organomercury compounds.

Mercury levels in fetuses of the California dogfish, Squalus suckleyi, were significantly lower than maternal levels (Childs et al., 1973). Fetuses of the S. suckleyi do not reflect the comparatively high concentrations of mercury found in maternal musculature. On an AW basis, mercury in muscle of the maternal female was 21 times greater than in any follicle or fetal stage and 42 times greater than the uterine wall, suggesting that mercury is uniquely absent from the fetal environment and may even be selectively excluded. Childs et al. (1973) speculate that since follicles are primarily lipid in composition, and since mercury is normally bound to a sulfhydryl ligand, then mercury would probably not accumulate in the follicles to any great extent.

In Brazil, the mercury criterion for shark muscle and other seafood products of commerce for human consumers is 0.5 mg total mercury/kg FW (de Pinho et al., 2002).

2.13 Nickel

Nickel concentrations in tissues of sharks from coastal and oceanic