Source: UNIV OF CONNECTICUT submitted to
CLIMATE-LINKED CHANGES IN MARINE PREY FISH IN THE NORTH: IMPACTS ON HUMAN NUTRITION AND FOOD SAFETY IN RURAL ARCTIC COMMUNITIES
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1007385
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
CONS00949
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Mar 1, 2016
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2020
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
McKinney, ME, .
Recipient Organization
UNIV OF CONNECTICUT
(N/A)
STORRS,CT 06269
Performing Department
Natural Resources & the Environment
Non Technical Summary
Rural Arctic communities rely on wild-caught, local foods including marine mammals and fish. However, climate change-linked food web changes may impact the quality and safety of these foods. The goal of this project is to determine how increases in Subarctic-type prey fish (aka bait fish), and decreases in Arctic-type prey fish, affect the levels of nutrients and environmental contaminants in a key food of local residents, i.e., ringed seals. In 2012-2014, we worked with local fishers in three Arctic communities to collect arctic fish (arctic cod, sculpin) and more recently present subarctic fish (capelin, sand lance). Samples will be analyzed for mercury, PCBs and other contaminants and for general diet information using stable isotopes. We will compare a similar suite of contaminants and nutrients in ringed seals previously sampled in 2012-2014 from the three regions. We will use stable isotopes and fatty acid signatures to generate in-depth knowledge on the diets of these ringed seals. Then, we will assess the influence of diet versus location on contaminant and nutrient variation among these ringed seal populations. We expect to show that, in addition to where the seals live, what they eat (particularly consumption of invading subarctic fish) contributes to regional differences in contaminant and nutrient levels in the meat and blubber of this important traditional food. These results will represent important new information for rural Arctic community members in order to make informed and health diet choices.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
100%
Applied
(N/A)
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
71108101150100%
Goals / Objectives
The overall goal of the project is to determine how replacement of Arctic resident (cold water-type) prey fish by invading Subarctic (warm water-type) prey fish changes the food quality and safety of the marine food base for rural Arctic communities. This goal will be met by addressing the following three objectives: 1) measure and compare nutrient levels as indicators of food quality, among Arctic and Subarctic prey fish, 2) measure and compare contaminant levels, as indicators of food safety, among Arctic and Subarctic prey fish, and 3) determine influence of nutrient and contaminant changes in prey fish on local, wild-caught community foods, specifically, marine mammals.
Project Methods
Sample collection: Region-specific collections of major prey species have been done based ontraditional and scientific knowledge. Species included arctic cod, capelin, sandlance,sculpin, and amphipods.Region-specific collections of ringed seals have also been completed as part of community subsistence-harvests. All collected samples were be weighed, measured (length) andphotographed.Contaminant analysis: Prey and marine mammal samples will be analyzed for environmental contaminants including mercury and PCBs. In brief, samples are acid digested and analyzed for elements by inductively coupled plasma-MS (ICP-MS) and by cold-vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CV-AAS). Organic contaminants are extracted by accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) and cleaned up using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and solid phase extraction (SPE). Levels of organic contaminants are determined by gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD) or mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS).Nutrient analysis: Prey and marine mammal samples will be analyzed for nutrients including total lipids, fatty acids and selenium levels. Briefly, total lipids are determined gravimetrically and fatty acids are determined as their methyl ester analogues by GC with flame ionization detection (GC-FID). Selenium levels are determined during elemental analysis (see Contaminant analysis). General diet information will also be determined using stable isotopes analysis. Lipid-extracted samples are combusted in an elemental combustion system and analyzed for carbon and nitrogen isotopes by acoupled isotope ratio MS (EA-IRMS).Quality assurance: Standard quality assurance procedures include analysis of duplicates, method blanks, post-digestion spiked samples, laboratory control samples, and NIST and/or in-house standard reference materials. The laboratories involved have participated in inter-laboratory comparison exercises and are accredited analytical facilities.Data analysis: Ringed seal trophic positions will be determined using their nitrogen isotope ratios relative to amphipods. Relative carbon source (i.e., benthic versus pelagic) used by ringed seals will be calculated as the ratio of the carbon isotope value in ringed seal to that in the amphipods. Fatty acid data will be evaluated using principle components analysis (PCA), and the significant PC(s) will be used to represent the fatty acid signatures in subsequent analyses. The best subset of variables to model each contaminant and nutrient in ringed seal will be evaluated using Akaike's Information Criteria (AIC) considering the variables population, sex, age, trophic position, relative carbon source and fatty acid PC(s). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) tests, will be used to test for significant differences in these variables among prey species/locations. Finally, to further evaluate the impact of prey fish changes on human nutrition, we will generate diet estimates (using standard approaches for stable isotopes and fatty acids) and examine fish-to-ringed seal biomagnification factors, combining region-specific contaminant data and the generated diet estimates.Sample archiving: Samples will be archived for future studies in freezers with wiredtemperature monitoring, back-up power and 24 hr. monitoring by universitymaintenance staff.

Progress 10/01/17 to 09/30/18

Outputs
Target Audience:The target audience is researchers in natural resources, as well as local arctic communities within which the project will be carried out. This workis useful for researchers in understanding of how anthropogenic stressors, i.e., climate change and contaminants, can interact to affect aquatic ecosystemhealth. It is also important for local people in making decisions regarding healthy diets and potentially for adapting to climate-induced changes in local food quality. During the reporting period, the research audience was engaged through a presentation at the International Arctic Change conference and a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Environmental Pollution and a peer-reviewed publication in press in the journal Chemosphere. One of the local communities was visited in 2016 prior to the reporting period, and will be visited again to engage the local hunters and trappers organization as well as high-school and college students in the next reporting period. Changes/Problems:As marine mammal samples were not available, the third and final objective of the project was revised to instead focus on feeding niche breadth and interspecific competitive interactions among the fish species instead of the consequences in terms of predation by marine mammals. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?This project has contributed to the training of one PhD student, specifically by contributing partial support for a graduate student stipend. This student was highly productive during the reporting period, with one paper published, one in press, and one international conference presentation. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Results have been disseminated to the scientific community through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. They have also been (and will be) disseminated to the local Arctic communities through in-person visits including presentations, as well as through lay-person summaries. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?During the next reporting period, a third visit to a participating Arctic community is planned to report on final project results. Lay-person final results summaries are also planned. An additional publication evaluating the fish community changes in terms of competitive interactions (instead of impacts on marine mammals, as originally planned) and foraging niches is planned to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication, and at least two presentations at international conferences are planned.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? The graduate student working on the project successfully published a peer-reviewed article in the journal Environmental Pollution addressing objective 2, that is, to compare contaminant levels as indicators of food safety among Arctic and sub-Arctic type prey fish. Results showed that levels of mercury and persistent organic pollutants were rather similar, suggesting limited effects of changing prey fish communities on levels of these contaminants in Arctic predators. The student also has a second peer-reviewed article in press in the journal Chemosphere addressing objective 1, that is, to compare nutrient levels among these prey fish species. In this second study, results suggested that a shift in prey fish composition from Arctic cod to capelin and/or sand lance is unlikely to reduce the food quality of the prey available to marine predators at least with respect to concentrations of essential fatty acids, selenium, and Se:Hg ratios.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Pedro S, Fisk AT, Tomy GT, Ferguson SH, Hussey NE, Kessel ST, McKinney MA*, 2017. Mercury and persistent organic pollutants in native and invading forage species of the Canadian Arctic: Consequence for food web dynamics. Environmental Pollution 229: 229-240.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2019 Citation: Pedro S, Fisk AT, Ferguson SH, Hussey NE, Kessel ST, McKinney MA*, 2019. Limited effects of changing prey fish communities on food quality for aquatic predators in the eastern Canadian Arctic in terms of essential fatty acids, methylmercury and selenium. Chemosphere 214: 855-865.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Pedro S, Fisk AT, Ferguson SH, Hussey NE, Kessel ST, McKinney MA*, 2017. Changes in forage fish communities in the eastern Canadian Arctic have a limited impact on nutritional quality of the prey base in terms of essential fatty acids, selenium, and selenium:methylmercury ratios. International Arctic Change 2017 Conference, Dec. 11-15, Québec City, QC, Canada.


Progress 10/01/16 to 09/30/17

Outputs
Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? No funds were allocated this fiscal year to the project. Thus, it has not started yet. If funding is providing next fiscal year, then the approved project will be initiated.

Publications


    Progress 03/01/16 to 09/30/16

    Outputs
    Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems:Project start was delayed due to lack of funding. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

    Impacts
    What was accomplished under these goals? No funds were allocated this fiscal year to the project. Thus, it has not started yet. If funding is providing next fiscal year, then theapproved project will be initiated.

    Publications