This article provides an overview of biomagnification as it applies to bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic contaminants in ecosystems. While the term biomagnification has been applied to other pollutant classes including certain metals, the origins of the term, major case studies, and advancements in the mechanistic interpretation of biomagnification have largely been focused on hydrophobic organohalogen compounds. The first section of this article defines the term biomagnification, related terminology, and traces the origins of the term. The second section provides a brief overview of major empirical evidence documenting biomagnification in various food webs, and the last sections provide a summary of alternative mechanisms that have been used to explain the biomagnification phenomena.
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