Mercury concentrations of a resident freshwater forage fish at Adak Island, Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska

Leah A. Kenney, Frank A. Von Hippel, James J. Willacker, Todd M. O'Hara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Aleutian Archipelago is an isolated arc of over 300 volcanic islands stretching 1,600km across the interface of the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean. Although remote, some Aleutian Islands were heavily impacted by military activities from World War II until recently and were exposed to anthropogenic contaminants, including mercury (Hg). Mercury is also delivered to these islands via global atmospheric transport, prevailing ocean currents, and biotransport by migratory species. Mercury contamination of freshwater ecosystems is poorly understood in this region. Total Hg (THg) concentrations were measured in threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) collected from eight lakes at Adak Island, an island in the center of the archipelago with a long military history. Mean THg concentrations for fish whole-body homogenates for all lakes ranged from 0.314 to 0.560mg/kg dry weight. Stickleback collected from seabird-associated lakes had significantly higher concentrations of THg compared to non-seabird lakes, including all military lakes. The δ13C stable isotope ratios of stickleback collected from seabird lakes suggest an input of marine-derived nutrients and/or marine-derived Hg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2647-2652
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotransport
  • Carbon isotopes
  • Formerly used defense sites
  • Marine-derived mercury
  • Threespine stickleback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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