Bioaccumulation in Species

So this week for my research I’ve begun reading about bioaccumulation.

bioaccumulation (bī’ō-ə-ky m’yə-lā’shən)
The accumulation of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, invarious tissues of a living organism. Bioaccumulation takes place within an organism when the rate of intake of a substance is greater than the rate of excretion or metabolic transformation of that substance. (The American Heritage Science Dictionary).

My understanding of how this works is the following: on the food chain, as smaller consumers are poisoned and then eaten by their predators, eventually, the predators are also affected by the same toxins.

If there are any Science majors out there, please speak up and correct any misunderstandings I have on this topic. I studied some biological anthropology independently but I’m no expert on this topic.

Okay, so moving forward, I’ve been thinking about this process and how I might be able to merge the hard science into the manuscript (MS) that I’m writing.  Specifically, I wondered how a toxin introduced into a water environment would affect the species.

To this end, I created a flow chart (see below), assuming that a) the same toxin entered freshwater and saltwater in two locales and b) it negatively affected mussels in the waters.

For the record, I am comparing marine mussels to freshwater mussels. Assuming that the mussels are contaminated, each progressive level on the chart represents a natural predator. Example: seabirds eat sea mussels; raccoons eat freshwater mussels, etc.

Check out the flowchart and let me know what you think in the comments below.  Let me know if I should review the flowchart here or tweak it or what not.

Your feedback will help me better understand science.  Let’s learn together!
bioaccumulation flow chart created by Lauren Miller


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