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Demersal fish, Marine pollution, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Environmental baseline, Deepwater Horizon

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A multinational demersal longline survey was conducted on the Gulf of Mexico continental shelf over the years 2015 and 2016 to generate a Gulf-wide baseline of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in demersal fishes. Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) were sampled in all regions of the Gulf of Mexico for biometrics, bile, and liver. Tilefish liver was also obtained from surveys in the northwest Atlantic Ocean for comparison. Liver tissues (n = 305) were analyzed for PAHs and select alkylated homologs using QuEChERS extractions and gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Bile samples (n = 225) were analyzed for biliary PAH metabolites using high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Spatial comparisons indicate the highest levels of PAH exposure and hepatic accumulation in the north central Gulf of Mexico, with decreasing concentrations moving from the north central Gulf counterclockwise, and an increase on the Yucatán Shelf. Hepatic PAH concentrations were similar between the Gulf of Mexico and the northwest Atlantic, however, Tilefish from the northwest Atlantic had higher concentrations and more frequent detection of carcinogenic high molecular weight PAHs. Overall, results demonstrate that PAH pollution was ubiquitous within the study regions, with recent exposure and hepatic accumulation observed in Tilefish from both the Gulf of Mexico and northwest Atlantic.

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Environmental Pollution, v. 258, art. 113775

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