Long-term monitoring of arsenic, copper, selenium, and other elements in Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA) surface water, brine shrimp, and brine flies

  • William J. Adams
  • David K. DeForest
  • Lucinda M. Tear
  • Kelly Payne
  • Kevin V. Brix


This paper presents long-term monitoring data for 19 elements with a focus on arsenic (As), copper (Cu), and selenium (Se), in surface water (2002–2011), brine shrimp (2001–2011), and brine flies (1995–1996) collected from Great Salt Lake (GSL, Utah, USA). In open surface waters, mean (±standard deviation [SD]; range; n) As concentrations were 112 (±22.1; 54.0–169; 47) and 112 μg/L (±35.6; 5.1–175; 68) in filtered and unfiltered surface water samples, respectively, and 16.3 μg/g (±5.6; 5.1–35.2; 62) dry weight (dw) in brine shrimp. Mean (±SD; range; n) Cu concentrations were 4.2 (±2.1; 1.3–12.5; 47) and 6.9 μg/L (±6.6; 1.9–38.1; 68) in filtered and unfiltered surface water samples, respectively, and 20.6 μg/g (±18.4; 5.4–126; 62) dw in brine shrimp. Finally, mean (±SD; range; n) dissolved and total recoverable Se concentrations were 0.6 (±0.1; 0.4–1.2; 61) and 0.9 μg/L (±0.7; 0.5–3.6; 89), respectively, and 3.6 μg/g (±2.2; 1.1–14.9; 98) dw in brine shrimp. Thus, Se in open lake surface waters was most often in the range of 0.5–1 μg/L, and concentrations in both surface water and brine shrimp were comparable to concentrations measured in other monitoring programs for the GSL. Temporally, the statistical significance of differences in mean dissolved or total recoverable As, Cu, and Se concentrations between years was highly variable depending which test statistic was used, and there was no clear evidence of increasing or decreasing trends. In brine shrimp, significant differences in annual mean concentrations of As, Cu, and Se were observed using both parametric and nonparametric statistical approaches, but, as for water, there did not appear to be a consistent increase or decrease in concentrations of these elements over time.


Great Salt Lake Trace elements Arsenic Copper Selenium Brine shrimp 



This study was funded by Kennecott Utah Copper and Rio Tinto. KVB was supported by an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellowship. Thanks to Craig Hanson (Windward Environmental) for mapping support.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 2061 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Adams
    • 1
  • David K. DeForest
    • 2
  • Lucinda M. Tear
    • 2
  • Kelly Payne
    • 3
  • Kevin V. Brix
    • 4
  1. 1.Rio TintoSouth JordanUSA
  2. 2.Windward EnvironmentalSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Kennecott Utah CopperSouth JordanUSA
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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