John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Reed beds facilitate transfer of tributyltin from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems through insect vectors in the Archipelago Sea, SW Finland

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Due to their adsorptive behavior, organotin compounds (OTCs), such as tributyltin (TBT), are accumulated in aquatic sediments. They are resistant to biodegradation and, despite a ban in 2008, a potential source for future exposure. Sediment OTCs have mostly been measured from sites of known high concentrations such as ports, shipping lanes, and marine dredging waste sites. However, the possible flow of OTCs from marine to terrestrial ecosystems has not been studied. In the present study the authors assessed whether sediments in common reed beds (Phragmites australis) accumulate TBT and whether chironomid (Diptera: Chironomidae) communities developing in reed‐bed sediments act as vectors in the transfer of TBT from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems in the Airisto channel, Archipelago Sea. The authors also investigated whether distance from the only known source as well as depth and TBT concentration of the adjacent shipping lane affect reed‐bed concentrations. The sampled 36 sites along the Airisto channel at 2‐km intervals with triplicate samples from reed beds and the adjacent shipping lane for sediment samples and seven reed‐bed sites for chironomids and analyzed them with an SPE LC‐MS/MS method. The closer to the source the sample site was, the higher the measured TBT concentrations were; and the deeper the shipping lane, the lower the concentration of TBT in reed‐bed sediments. The chironomid TBT concentrations correlated with reed‐bed sediment TBT concentrations and showed evidence of accumulation. Therefore, TBT may be transferred, through the food web, from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems relatively close to a source through ecosystem boundaries, such as common reed beds, which are areas of high insect biomass production in the Archipelago Sea. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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