US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2014) 92:125–131


U.S. Government Work


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.