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Implementation of a Non-lethal Biopsy Punch Monitoring Program for Mercury in Smallmouth Bass, Micropterus dolomieu Lacepède, from the Eleven Point River, Missouri

Ackerson, J. R., McKee, M. J., Schmitt, C. J., Brumbaugh, W. G.
Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 2014 v.92 no.2 pp. 125-131
Micropterus dolomieu, biopsy, condition factor, fillets, fish, hatcheries, mercury, monitoring, muscle tissues, rivers, Missouri
A non-lethal biopsy method for monitoring mercury (Hg) concentrations in smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu; smallmouth) from the Eleven Point River in southern Missouri USA was evaluated. A biopsy punch was used to remove a muscle tissue plug from the area immediately below the anterior dorsal fin of 31 smallmouth. An additional 35 smallmouth (controls) were held identically except that no tissue plug was removed. After sampling, all fish were held in a concrete hatchery raceway for 6 weeks. Mean survival at the end of the holding period was 97 % for both groups. Smallmouth length, weight and Fulton’s condition factor at the end of the holding period were also similar between plugged and non-plugged controls, indicating that the biopsy procedure had minimal impact on growth under these conditions. Tissue plug Hg concentrations were similar to smallmouth Hg data obtained in previous years by removing the entire fillet for analysis.