Persistent organic pollutants in two dolphin species with focus on toxaphene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Assessing trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in marine mammals is difficult due to age, gender, and metabolism influences on accumulation. To help elucidate these effects in dolphins, POP concentrations were determined in the Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus, a pelagic delphinid inhabiting North Atlantic waters, and in the rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis, a pelagic delphinid inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters. The specific objectives of this study were to determine baseline POP concentrations in L. acutus and S. bredanensis blubber samples and to examine the effects of age, gender, and metabolism on POP concentrations in dolphin blubber. Focus was aimed at contaminants of emerging concern, specifically, toxaphene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Samples collected from L. acutus (n = 47) stranding events in Massachusetts (1993--2000) and S. bredanensis samples (n = 15) were analyzed for PCBs, toxaphene, and other organic pesticides by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Age and gender influences were similar between the two species, with adult females having significantly lower POP concentrations as compared to adult males and juveniles. Mean sigma toxaphene concentrations were highest in juvenile L. acutus, 13.0 (6.7) microg/g wet mass (1 SD), and lowest in adult female S. bredanensis, 1.49 (1.4) microg/g wet mass. sigma PBDE (sum of congeners 47, 99, 100, 153, and 154) concentrations were highest in juvenile L. acutus, 2.41 (1.2) microg/g wet mass, and lowest in adult female S. bredanensis, 0.51 (0.6) microg/g wet mass. POP concentrations did not significantly differ between adult males and juveniles, suggesting metabolism of congeners and/or dilution with growth. PBDE concentrations in juvenile white-sided dolphins were not significantly related to collection year, suggesting that there may be a lag period for higher concentrations to be detected in pelagic marine mammals such as L. acutus or that concentrations have already peaked in this species prior to the first collection in 1993.
Tuerk, KJS; Kucklick, JR; Becker, PR; Stapleton, HM; Baker, JE
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