Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4392
Title: Levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Northeast Atlantic Humpback Whales Megaptera novaeangliae
Author: Conor Ryan, B. McHugh, B. Boyle, P. Lopez-Suarez, C. T. Elfes, D. T. Boyd, G. M. Ylitalo, G. R. Van Blaricom, P. Clapham , J. Robbins, M. Berube, P. J. Palsboll, I. O'Connor, S. D. Berrow
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Endangered Species Research
Volume: 22
Issue: 3
Pages: 213-223
DOI: 10.3354/esr00545
Keywords: Humpback whales,Persistent Organic Pollutants,Northeast Atlantic

Concentrations of 14 organochlorine compounds (OCCs) and 10 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) were measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection (GC-ECD) in lipid from humpback whale (Megaptera noveaengliae) blubber biopsies sampled in the Northeast Atlantic (NEA; Cape Verde and Ireland) Concentrations of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), PCB and Chlordanes were found to be an order of magnitude lower than in western North Atlantic humpbacks (Gulf of Maine, GOM), but more elevated than those from the Pacific. Concentrations (mean ng g-1 ± SD Cape Verde and Ireland respectively) of ΣDDTs (505 ± 375 and 251 ± 202) and ΣPCBs (299 ± 198, 174 ± 128) for males were less than those reported for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the region (1981 and 2026 ng g-1 respectively). A male bias found within the Cape Verde sample and males exhibited higher POP burdens than females. Lower chlorinated PCB congeners (28, 31 and 52) HCHs and  hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were elevated in NEA compared to GOM whales, probably reflecting higher latitude at feeding grounds in the NEA. DDT congener ratios of %p’p’DDE / Σ DDT, Σ PCB / Σ DDT and DDT / Σ DDT  suggest that Cape Verdean and Irish whales harbour more recent inputs of DDT and proportionately greater sources of agricultural rather than industrial pollutants than those from GOM. Principal components analysis on lipid based concentration-independent POP profiles (including data published from GOM) found that more recalcitrant PCBs and HCHs discriminated between geographic regions, providing further evidence of population structuring between the eastern and western North Atlantic

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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.