To trace the biomagnification of organochlorines in marine food chains near Svalbard, which may lead to the high organochlorine concentrations in top predators from the area, we compared concentrations and patterns of organochlorines in selected taxa. The pelagic crustaceans, Calanus spp. (copepods), Thysanoessa spp. (euphausiids), Parathemisto libellula (amphipod), and the fish species, Boreogadus saida (polar cod) and Gadus morhua (cod) were selected to represent the lower trophic levels in the food web. Four seabird species were chosen at the higher trophic levels, Uria lomvia (Brünnich's guillemot), Cepphus grylle (black guillemot), Rissa tridactyla (black-legged kittiwake) and Larus hyperboreus (glaucous gull). We found low concentrations of the organochlorines Σhexachlorocyclohexanes (ΣHCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), ΣChlordanes, ΣDDTs and Σpolychlorinated biphenyls (ΣPCBs) in crustaceans (11-50 ng g-1lipid wt.) and fish (15-222 ng g-1lipid wt.). In seabirds, the organochlorine concentrations biomagnified one to three orders of magnitude dependent on species and compound class. Glaucous gulls had the highest concentrations of all organochlorines. The organochlorine levels in all taxa except glaucous gull were comparable to those recorded in similar species in the Canadian Arctic. The organochlorine pattern changed from crustaceans and fish to seabirds. Moving up the food chain, the relative contribution of ΣHCHs, HCB and ΣChlordanes decreased, and the relative contribution of ΣDDTs, ΣPCBs, persistent compounds and metabolites increased. The results reflected trophic transfer of organochlorines along the food chain as well as different elimination potentials due to direct diffusion in crustaceans and fish, and higher contaminant metabolic activity in seabirds. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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