Environ Pollut 2012 Dec 21;171:148-54. Epub 2012 Aug 21.
K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada.
Rusty blackbirds are undergoing rapid population decline and have elevated Hg concentrations while breeding in the Acadian ecoregion of North America. Factors regulating the bioavailability of methyl-Hg (MeHg) within this population's habitat were determined using water, invertebrates, and blood from adult rusty blackbirds collected for Hg-speciation, along with additional water column parameters: MeHg and THg, dissolved organic carbon, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, redox potential, and temperature. Both DO(2) and pH were negatively related to biota MeHg, while water MeHg concentrations were positively related. Both invertebrate MeHg concentration and %MeHg increased with trophic level. Invertebrate MeHg concentrations were among the greatest reported when compared with those reported elsewhere for wetlands and waterbodies-often several times greater for similar taxa-while percent MeHg of THg were similar. An environment with high bioavailability of MeHg in combination with a high trophic position best explains elevated Hg concentrations for this species regional population.