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Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids and Fecundity Assessment in Striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge



John Bowden, Jacqueline T. Bangma, Jessica L. Reiner, Russell H. Lowers, Theresa M. Cantu, Jacob Scott, Jeffery Korte, Douglas M. Scheidt, Chris McDonough, Jonathan Tucker, Eric Reyier, Douglas H. Adams, Bonnie Ahr, Brenton Back


This study investigated wild caught Striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) for levels of 15 perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in tandem with fecundity measurements (n = 42) and oocyte developmental stages (n = 128). PFAAs measurements were undertaken for liver (n = 128), muscle (n = 49), and gonad (n = 10). No significant negative impacts of liver PFAA burden on wild-caught, mullet fecundity endpoints are observed in this study; however, changes in PFAAs are seen in the liver as mullet progress through different sub-stages of oocyte development. Of the PFAAs with significant changes by sub-stage of oocyte development, the carboxylic acids (perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorotridecanoic acid) increase in the liver with increasing sub-stage while the sulfonic acid and its precursor (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanesulfonamide, respectively) decrease in the liver with increasing stage of oocyte development. This is a unique find and suggests PFAAs change location of compartmentalization as mullet progress towards spawning. Investigations also revealed higher than expected median muscle and gonad levels of PFOS in Striped mullet collected at MINWR (9.01 ng/g and 80.2 ng/g, respectively).
Science of the Total Environment


PFOS, teleost, fecundity, PFOA, wildlife
Created April 1, 2018, Updated February 4, 2020