Determination of water quality, and trace metals in endemic Sarotherodon linellii, Pungu maclareni and Clarias maclareni, in crater Lake Barombi Mbo, Cameroon
Considering water pollution as a potential threat to some endemic cichlids of Lake Barombi Mbo, Cameroon, an investigation was done in 2011 to determine trace metals in its water, linking their uptake in gills and liver of fish to water chemistry. ICP-MS and ICP-OES analyses of trace metals based on total concentration of unfiltered lake water samples showed the presence of trace metals. All fish species accumulated Al, Mn and Sr in the highest concentrations in their gills, with Cu, Cd, Co, Cr, Pb and U highest in the liver. Pungu maclareni accumulated Al, Cr, Co, Sr and Pb in the highest concentrations. The highest mean gill Al concentration of 140 μg g−1 dry weight was measured in P. maclareni gills, this being one of the critically endangered cichlids of the lake. Stable isotope analyses of carbon δ13C and nitrogen δ15N showed that P. maclareni had the highest mean δ13C (−30.2‰) and highest concentrations of Cr, Co, Pb and U in liver, probably linking the carbon source to the accumulation of metals. Though trace metal levels in the lake water were low, their presence in fish tissues suggest they are bioavailable, bioaccumulate and may pose a threat to the aquatic biota, and therefore should be monitored.
Keywords: bioaccumulation, food chain, pollution, stable isotope analyses