Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sidney, BC, V8L 4B2, Canada, bburd@telus;
Brenda J Burd;Tara A Macdonald;Robie W Macdonald;Peter S Ross;
As part of a broader study of budgets, transport, and bioaccumulation of persistent organic contaminants in the Strait of Georgia, Canada, matching samples of sediment and bulk benthos were collected near two marine sewage outfalls, two large urban harbours, and background areas. Samples were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners. We present data for those congeners that fell within the top six rankings by concentration (23 PCBs and 10 PBDEs) within at least one of the environmental media measured in other studies (air, water, sediments, benthos, pelagic biota). Multifactor regression analyses incorporating sediment characteristics (total organic carbon, fines) predicted uptake (r (2)?=?0.74 to 0.98, p?<?0.04) over the range of congeners and habitats examined. PBDEs were taken up by biota more readily than PCBs, suggesting a large, potentially available biological reservoir of PBDEs in sediments. Dominant congeners in benthos comprised PBDEs 47, 99, 209, and 100 and PCBs 138/163, 153, 101, 118, and 110. PBDE uptake was anomalously high near one wastewater outfall, likely due to selective feeding on PBDE-enriched particulates from that source. Conversely, outfalls supply food and sediments with PCB concentrations similar to ambient sediments. However, organic enrichment of sediments near outfalls clearly enhanced PCB uptake by benthos, probably due to greatly increased biomass turnover near these sources. Data suggest there to be an initial reservoir of PCBs in newly settled juvenile benthos, which is much less evident for PBDEs. This is likely a consequence of the ecosystem-wide distribution of legacy PCBs but not the more current-use PBDEs. Congener-uptake patterns were dependent on source and input dynamics, feeding methods, and contaminant metabolism or debromination, particularly of deca-BDE.