Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Biodiversity loss in benthic macroinfaunal communities and its consequence for organic mercury trophic availability to benthivorous predators in the lower Hudson River estuary, USA

Goto, Daisuke; Wallace, William G.


Organic mercury such as methylmercury is not only one of the most toxic substances found in coastal ecosystems but also has high trophic transfer efficiency. In this study, we examined implications of chronically altered benthic macroinfaunal assemblages for organic mercury trophic availability (based on organic mercury intracellular partitioning) to their predators in the Arthur Kill-AK (New York, USA). Despite low species diversity, both density and biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates in AK were significantly higher than those at the reference site. Disproportionately high biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates (mostly polychaetes) in the northern AK resulted in a more than twofold increase ('ecological enrichment') in the trophically available organic mercury pool. These results suggest that altered benthic macroinfaunal community structure in AK may play an important role in organic mercury trophic availability at the base of benthic food webs and potentially in mercury biogeochemical cycling in this severely urbanized coastal ecosystem. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Benthic macroinvertebrates; Mercury; Metal intracellular partitioning; Metal trophic availability; Salt marshes

Published in

Marine Pollution Bulletin
2009, Volume: 58, number: 12, pages: 1909-1915

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)