Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4384
Title: Exploration of geographic variation of persistent organic pollutants in Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) in the main Hawaiian Islands
Author: Jessica Lopez, K. D. Hyrenbach, Charles Littnan, G. M. Ylitalo
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Endangered Species Research
Volume: 24
Issue: 3
Pages: 249-262
Keywords: Hawaiian monk seal,Monachus schauinslandi,Persistent Organic Pollutants,geographic variation,endangered species,Hawaiian Islands,

Geographic variation in the levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was assessed in the serum of Hawaiian monk seals from the main Hawaiian Islands. Twenty seals were outfitted with tracking devices to map their home ranges, which were then compared with the POP levels in their serum. Seals with similar ranges were shown to have similar POP levels, and seals with home ranges around the island of Oahu had significantly higher summed polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers than seals around the islands of Kauai and Molokai. This difference was not seen for summed diphenyl-dichlorotriphenylethanes or chlordanes. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (NMS) was used to determine if this geographic variation in serum POP levels was associated with specific POPs, watersheds, or state land use districts. The NMS ordination revealed patterns at the island scale, rather than the finer watershed scale. Additionally, there were differences in the land use characteristics adjacent to seals’ home ranges between two islands: seals with home ranges around Oahu had a high percentage of area adjacent to urban land use districts, and seals with home ranges around Molokai had a high percentage of area adjacent to rural and agricultural land use districts. Integration of serum POP levels and seal home ranges revealed geographic patterns that will help assess the risk of POPs to individual seals. The integrated approach highlighted in this study is applicable to other marine wildlife exposed to local and non-point pollutants.


Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.