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| This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2011) |
| This article's introduction may be too long for its overall length. Please help by moving some material from it into the body of the article. For more information please read the layout guide and Wikipedia's lead section guidelines. (February 2011) | Biomagnification, also known as bioamplification or biological magnification, is the increase in concentration of a substance that occurs in a food chain as a consequence of: * Persistence (can't be broken down by environmental processes) * Food chain energetics
* Low (or nonexistent) rate of internal degradation/excretion of the substance (often due to water-insolubility) The following is an example showing how biomagnification takes place in nature: An anchovy eats zooplankton that have tiny amounts of mercury that the zooplankton has picked up from the water throughout the anchovie's lifespan. A tuna eats many of these anchovies over its life, accumulating the mercury in each of those anchovies into its body. If the mercury stunts the growth of the anchovies, that tuna is required to eat more little fish to stay alive. Because there are more little fish being eaten, the mercury content is magnified. Biological magnification often refers to the process whereby certain substances such as pesticides or heavy metals move up the food chain, work their way into rivers or lakes, and are eaten by aquatic organisms such as fish, which in turn are eaten by large birds, animals or humans. The substances become concentrated in tissues or internal organs as they move up the chain. Bioaccumulants are substances that increase in concentration in living organisms as they take in...