Anzalone, S.E., Fuller, N.W., Huff Hartz, K.E., Fulton, C.A., Whitledge, G.W., Magnuson, J.T., Schlenk, D., Acuña, S. and Lydya, M.J.

Publication Date

04 March 2022

Publication Name

Environmental Pollution

Friday March 4, 2022

Juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) of the Sacramento River system encounter many anthropogenically-induced stressors while rearing and migrating to the Pacific Ocean. Located in a prominent agricultural region, the watershed serves as a source of notable contaminants including pesticides. Salmon rearing in riverine and floodplain areas are potentially exposed to these compounds via dietary exposure, which can vary based on selected food webs. Previous studies have suggested that juvenile Chinook salmon rearing in riverine and floodplain environments of the Sacramento River watershed are characterized by different dietary preferences, with potential for contrasting pesticide exposure between habitats. To examine the potential for pesticide exposure, juvenile Chinook salmon and known dietary items were collected in the mainstem Sacramento River and an adjacent floodplain, the Yolo Bypass, in 2019 and 2020, and analyzed for 33 pesticides, including degradates and isomers. Organochlorine pesticides including the DDX group (p,p’-DDT, p,p’-DDD and p,p’-DDE) were prevalent in all examined biota. There was a significantly greater number of total pesticide detections across all classes in zooplankton compared to macroinvertebrates, coupled with higher bifenthrin concentrations in zooplankton across regions and years, which may indicate different exposure potential depending on fish dietary preferences. Detection frequencies and concentrations of organochlorines were higher in prey items during flooding than in drought conditions, suggesting resuspension of legacy compounds. Significantly higher concentrations of organochlorines were recorded in floodplain rearing fish compared to the Sacramento River. These findings suggest that within these habitats, juvenile Chinook salmon feeding primarily on zooplankton within the water column may be exposed to a greater range of pesticides than those feeding on benthic macroinvertebrates, and that the benefits of floodplain rearing may come at a cost of increased organochlorine exposure.

Link copied successfully