Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The concentration and biomagnification of trace metals and metalloids across four trophic levels in a marine food web.

Madgett, Alethea S.; Yates, Kyari; Webster, Lynda; McKenzie, Craig; Moffat, Colin F.


Alethea S. Madgett

Lynda Webster

Craig McKenzie

Colin F. Moffat


To be able to assess progress towards “Good Environmental Status” adopted across European Member States, and by the United Kingdom through its 3-stage Marine Strategy, contaminant concentrations and their biological effects need to be assessed in environmental samples by comparison to assessment criteria. This study examines the variability of concentrations (inter- and intra- species variation) of three priority heavy metals (Hg, Cd and Pb) and six additional trace metals and metalloids (As, Ni, Se, Zn, Cu and Cr) in twenty-three species across four trophic levels from different locations around Scotland. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs) were calculated using two methods for metals/metalloids possessing a significant trophic relationship (Hg, Cd, Cu, Ni and Zn) to refine and improve the application of TMFs to assess and predict biomagnification risk of metals/metalloids to biota in the environment. It was concluded that a reasonable balance in sample numbers of lower- versus higher-trophic level organisms is highly recommended when calculating TMFs and appropriate species selection is vital to ensure TMFs accurately represent the selected ecosystem.


MADGETT, A.S., YATES, K., WEBSTER, L., MCKENZIE, C. and MOFFAT, C.F. 2021. The concentration and biomagnification of trace metals and metalloids across four trophic levels in a marine food web. Marine pollution bulletin [online], 173, part A, article 112929. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 14, 2021
Publication Date Dec 31, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 15, 2022
Journal Marine Pollution Bulletin
Print ISSN 0025-326X
Electronic ISSN 1879-3363
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 173
Issue part A
Article Number 112929
Keywords Metals; Biomagnification; Scotland; Assessment; Trophic; Contamination
Public URL
Additional Information The accompanying file contains supplementary material at the end of the full text file.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations