Brief Communication

Bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants in the deepest ocean fauna

  • Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0051 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0051
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Abstract

The legacy and reach of anthropogenic influence is most clearly evidenced by its impact on the most remote and inaccessible habitats on Earth. Here we identify extraordinary levels of persistent organic pollutants in the endemic amphipod fauna from two of the deepest ocean trenches (>10,000 metres). Contaminant levels were considerably higher than documented for nearby regions of heavy industrialization, indicating bioaccumulation of anthropogenic contamination and inferring that these pollutants are pervasive across the world’s oceans and to full ocean depth.

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Acknowledgements

The Kermadec and Mariana ‘HADES’ expeditions (RV Thomas G. Thompson TN309, and RV Falkor FK141109) were funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF-OCE nos 1130712 and 1140494) and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. S.B.P. was supported by a Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. The analytical costs were supported by the Total Foundation (France) and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology, Scotland (MASTS) through a Deep Sea Forum small grant award.

Author information

Author notes

    • Alan J. Jamieson

    Present address: School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, Ridley Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.

Affiliations

  1. Oceanlab, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Main Street, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire AB41 6AA, UK

    • Alan J. Jamieson
    •  & Toyonobu Fujii
  2. Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK

    • Tamas Malkocs
    •  & Stuart B. Piertney
  3. The James Hutton Institute, Environmental and Biochemical Sciences, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK

    • Zulin Zhang

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Contributions

A.J.J. conceived the experiment, designed the sampling equipment and was awarded the analytical costs. A.J.J. and S.B.P. performed the sampling at sea. S.B.P identified species, and T.M. performed the laboratory analysis under the supervision of Z.Z. and A.J.J., T.M. and T.F. performed the statistical analyses and the manuscript was written by A.J.J., T.M., S.B.P. and Z.Z.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alan J. Jamieson.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Tables 1–4