Mercury concentration and nitrogen isotope values of muscle and blood tissues in tuna species from the Southwestern Pacific ocean

Date 2022-05-20
Temporal extent 2001 -2016
Author(s) Barbosa Romina VanessaORCID1, Point DavidORCID2, Médieu AnaïsORCID1, Allain ValérieORCID3, Gillikin David P.ORCID4, Munaron Jean-MarieORCID1, Roupsard François3, Lorrain AnneORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Brest, IRD, CNRS, Ifremer, LEMAR, F-29280 Plouzané, France
2 : Geosciences Environnement Toulouse (GET) - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), CNRS, Université de Toulouse
3 : Pacific Community, Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Nouméa, New-Caledonia
4 : Department of Geosciences, Union College, 807 Union St., Schenectady, NY, 12308, USA
DOI 10.17882/88179
Publisher SEANOE
Keyword(s) Methylmercury, mercury, white muscle, blood, Pacific Ocean, bigeye, yellowfin, skipjack, albacore, tunas

In this dataset, we present white muscle and blood tissue samples of bigeye (Thunnus obesus) and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) collected by trained observers onboard commercial fishing boats (purse seine and longline) between 2001 and 2016 in the Southwestern Pacific, and a few other data for two other tuna species (Thunnus alalunga - albacore and Katsuwonus pelamis - skipjack). The dataset includes information from 170 sampled individuals, with muscle and blood tissue samples of each individual. Samples data include the individual’s ID, species ID (BET bigeye, YFT yellowfin, ALB albacore, SKJ skipjack), species name, sampling date, fork length (cm), geographical location (i.e., longitude and latitude, and Longhurst province modified according to Houssard et al. 2017), δ15N isotope value (‰), total mercury concentration (THg in µg.g‑1, dry weight) and tissue (blood or muscle).

Licence CC-BY
Acknowledgements We thank the French National Research Agency ANR-17-CE34-0010 project ‘Unraveling the origin of methylMERcury TOXin in marine ecosystems’ (MERTOX, PI DP) and VACOPA to AL for providing financial support for Hg analysis. We are grateful to the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Pacific Community (SPC) for providing access to tissue samples from the Pacific Marine Specimen Bank ( We thank C. Sanchez and C. Cuewapuru for their help with tuna sampling and Laure Laffont from GET for Hg analyses and Anouk Verheyden and Madelyn Miller from Union College for isotope analyzes. National Science Foundation for funding Union College’s isotope ratio mass spectrometer and peripherals (NSF-MRI #1229258).
Sensor metadata

Blood tissue samples were obtained from freshly caught tuna. Individuals' blood was sampled from the incision made by fishermen near the lateral line (close to the pectoral fin). Samples were frozen onboard (stored at -20°C), freeze-dried and finally ground to a fine and homogeneous powder prior to analyses. THg concentrations were measured on ~10 mg of powdered samples by thermal decomposition, gold amalgamation and atomic absorption detection (DMA-80, Milestone) at GET (Toulouse, France). The accuracy of measurements was checked against different biological standard reference materials (i.e., TORT-2: 0.270 ± 0.060 µg.g‑1, TORT-3: 0.292 ± 0.022 µg.g‑1, DOLT-4: 2.580 ± 0.220 µg.g‑1, and IAEA-436: 4.190 ± 0.360 µg.g‑1).

About ~1 mg of homogenized freeze-dried sample, packed in tin cups, were analyzed using a Costech elemental analyser coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Thermo Scientific Delta Advantage with a Conflo IV interface) at Union College (New York, USA) to obtain the stable isotope values. Reference standards (EA Consumables sorghum flour (δ15N = 1.58 ± 0.15 ‰), in house acetanilide (δ15N = -0.96 ‰), IAEA-N-2 ammonium sulfate (δ15N = 20.3 ± 0.2 ‰), and IAEA-600 caffeine (δ15N = 1.0 ± 0.2 ‰) were used for isotopic corrections, and to assign the data to the appropriate isotopic scale with reproducibility better than 0.1 ‰.

The province of location is defined as the biogeochemical province modified by Houssard et al. (2017) (Houssard, P., Point, D., Tremblay-Boyer, L., Allain, V., Pethybridge, H., Masbou, J., Ferriss, B.E., Baya, P.A., Lagane, C., Menkes, C.E., Letourneur, Y., Lorrain, A., 2019. A Model of Mercury Distribution in Tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean: Influence of Physiology, Ecology and Environmental Factors. Environmental Science & Technology 53, 1422–1431. The Archipelagic deep basins modified province (ARCHm), the Warm pool modified province (WARMm), the Pacific equatorial divergence province (PEQD), and the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre modified province (SPSGm). 
Latitude and longitude information is presented on a 360 degrees scale.

File Size Format Processing Access
THg and d15N values of muscle and blood tissues from tuna species 24 KB CSV Raw data Open access
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How to cite 

Barbosa Romina Vanessa, Point David, Médieu Anaïs, Allain Valérie, Gillikin David P., Munaron Jean-Marie, Roupsard François, Lorrain Anne (2022). Mercury concentration and nitrogen isotope values of muscle and blood tissues in tuna species from the Southwestern Pacific ocean. SEANOE.

In addition to properly cite this dataset, it would be appreciated that the following work(s) be cited too, when using this dataset in a publication :

Barbosa Romina, Point David, Médieu Anais, Allain Valerie, Gillikin David P., Couturier Lydie I.E., Munaron Jean-Marie, Roupsard François, Lorrain Anne (2022). Mercury concentrations in tuna blood and muscle mirror seawater methylmercury in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 180, 113801 (9p.).