Dietary mercury exposure and bioaccumulation in amphibian larvae inhabiting Carolina bay wetlands

J. M. Unrine, C. H. Jagoe, A. C. Brinton, H. A. Brant, N. T. Garvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Inorganic mercury and methylmercury concentrations were measured both in guts and remaining carcasses of southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala) larvae from 10 Carolina bay wetlands in South Carolina, USA. Significant variation among bays in methylmercury and inorganic mercury concentrations existed both in guts and carcasses. There was a moderate negative correlation between dissolved organic carbon concentration in bays and mean inorganic mercury concentrations in guts. There was also a weak positive correlation between pH in bays and mean methylmercury concentrations in carcasses. The ratio of methylmercury to inorganic mercury decreased with increasing total mercury concentration in guts and in larvae, but the rate of decrease was highly variable among bays. Ratios of concentrations in carcasses to concentrations in guts were inversely related to gut concentration. Mercury concentrations in carcasses in some bays were within the range of concentrations at which adverse effects have been observed in laboratory studies of R. sphenocephala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Environmental Remediation Sciences Division of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, U.S. Department of Energy, through Financial Assistance Award No. DE-FC09-96-SR18546 to the University of Georgia Research Foundation. J. Unrine was supported by a doctoral assistantship provided by the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory while conducting this research. Earlier versions of the manuscript benefited from the comments of J. Snodgrass, W. Hopkins, M. Smith, I.L. Brisbin, Jr., P. Williams, M. Black and two anonymous reviewers. The authors are also grateful for the advice and assistance of A.L. Bryan and the technical support of T. Paulin.


  • Amphibian
  • Mercury
  • Speciation
  • Trophic transfer
  • Wetland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Dietary mercury exposure and bioaccumulation in amphibian larvae inhabiting Carolina bay wetlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this