Instructional Videos

Bioaccumulation of Pollution in Waterways: Animation (April 2010)  (YouTube Link)  

New York State routinely produces health advisories for fish caught in local waters. These advisories are based on the potential for harmful substances- that is, pollutants- to be present in the flesh of the fish, which can be transferred to humans through consumption. The advisories vary depending upon the species of fish and the location where it’s caught, but generally, the higher up the food chain a fish is, it has potentially higher contamination levels. But how does pollution get into a fish in the first place? And why do larger, predatory fish have more of it? The answer to the first question is, from the environment. As for the second, bioaccumulation is the term referring to the accumulation of substances in an organism. Check out the animation to see how pollution gets from the environment into fish and concentrates in larger fish.

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