Bioaccumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by Arctic and temperate benthic species

A.S. Szczybelski Ciordia*, N.J. Diepens, M.J. van den Heuvel-Greve, N.W. van den Brink, A.A. Koelmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing oil and gas activities may substantially increase chemical stress to benthic ecosystems in the Arctic, pointing to the necessity to evaluate their environmemtal risks in these systems. Risk assessment procedures for oil related compounds (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) should address differences in exposure between Arctic and temperate benthos. Here we compare for the first time, the bioaccumulation of PAHs by Arctic benthic invertebrate species, with that of temperate species, based on their biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs). Measured PAH BSAFs were generally higher in temperate bivalves (Limecola balthica) than in Arctic bivalves (Macoma calcarea), whereas BSAFs in Arctic polychaetes (Nephtys ciliata) showed higher values than in temperate polychaetes (Alitta virens). Differences in measured BSAFs were explained by the species-specific feeding modes and traits. However, modeled BSAFs revealed that steady state was not likely to be reached in the 28-d tests for all PAHs and organisms. Due to low numbers of individuals, most species-specific parameters carried too much uncertainty to reveal differences between Arctic and temperate species. The results of the present study suggest that data from temperate species could be used as a surrogate for Arctic species in risk assessment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-895
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number4
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Arctic
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biota-sediment accumulation factors
  • Modeling
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


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