The San Francisco Estuary (SFE) is heavily influenced by anthropogenic activities, including historic and chronic contaminant inputs. These contaminants can adversely affect SFE fish populations, particularly white sturgeon, because they are a benthic dwelling, long-lived species. We measured a suite of metals and organic contaminants in liver and gonad tissues of 25 male and 32 female white sturgeon as well as several physiological indicators of sturgeon health. Most sturgeon (68% of males and 83% of females) were estimated to be between 13 and 17 years of age. Sturgeon tissues had elevated concentrations of several metals, including As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Cr, Pb, Hg, Ni, Se, and Zn. The most frequently detected organic contaminants in sturgeon livers and gonads were DDE, PCBs, PBDEs, and galaxolide. Selenium was detected at levels similar to those shown to cause impaired liver physiology and reproductive success in white sturgeon. Observed Hg levels were higher than those shown to result in lower condition factor and gonadosomatic indices in white sturgeon. Liver galaxolide levels correlated with decreased plasma estradiol levels in female sturgeon. The Cd, As, and Cu warrant further investigation, because they were detected at levels known to impair fish health. Our results suggest contaminants are negatively affecting SFE white sturgeon health and fitness. Future SFE white sturgeon contaminant research is suggested.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology – Springer Journals
Published: May 20, 2017
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