Seasonal woodland pools contribute significant biomass to terrestrial ecosystems through production of pool-breeding amphibians. The movement of amphibian metamorphs potentially transports toxins bioaccumulated during larval development in the natal pool into the surrounding terrestrial environment. We documented total mercury (THg) in seasonal woodland pool water, sediment, litter, and Lithobates sylvaticus LeConte (Wood Frog) in Acadia National Park, ME. THg concentrations in pool water varied over the study season, increasing during April—June and remaining high in 2 of 4 pools upon October refill. Water in pools surrounded by softwoods had lower pH, greater dissolved organic carbon, and greater THg concentrations than pools surrounded by hardwoods, with seasonal patterns in sediment THg but not litter THg. THg increased rapidly from near or below detection in 1–2 week old embryos (<0.2 ng; 0–0.49 ppb wet weight) to 17.1–54.2 ppb in tadpoles within 6 weeks; 7.2–42.0% of THg was methyl Hg in tadpoles near metamorphosis. Metamorphs emigrating from seasonal pools may transfer mercury into terrestrial food webs.
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Vol. 19 • No. 4