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For more information on species & ecosystem science:

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Marine Toxic Contaminants

Species Monitored: English Sole

English sole (Pleuronectes vetulus)

TOPS-Marine Science Experience, Occidental College

Much of the research on contaminant accumulation in fish in the Puget Sound has focused on English sole. These demersal fish are moderately long-lived 1, have a close association with the bottom sediments, consume benthic invertebrates, and have relatively restricted movements associated with seasonal migration for reproduction. These characteristics suggest that their probability of exposure to persistent bioaccumulative toxins is moderately high and that they will reflect regional spatial patterns of contamination in bottom sediments. Also, because they are purchased from the commercial fishery and are captured and consumed by some anglers, English sole represent a food-web pathway through which contaminants can move from sediments to humans.

The Fish Component has monitored the presence and severity of toxic contaminants in this species annually from 1989 through 1999 and began bi-annual monitoring in 2001. Click for sampling locations.


  1. Age of the oldest English sole collected by the Fish Component was estimated at 21 years.