SPATIAL TRENDS OF PERFLUORINATED COMPOUNDS IN BELUGA WHALES (DELPHINAPTERUS LEUCAS) FROM ALASKA

 

Jessica Reiner1, Steven G. O’Connell1, Jennifer Keller1, John Kucklick1, Paul R. Becker1, Michele Schantz2

1National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory, 331 Ft. Johnson Rd., Charleston, SC, USA 2National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Dr., Gaithersburg, MD, USA

 

Wildlife from remote locations has been shown to bioaccumulate perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in their tissues. Fourteen PFCs were determined in livers of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) collected from different locations in Alaska between 1995 and 2006. The majority of the samples came from two subpopulations of beluga whales, Cook Inlet and eastern Chukchi Sea. In this study, differences in concentrations and PFC profiles were examined between the subpopulations. Spatial and sex differences in the concentrations of select PFCs were examined. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA) were the dominate PFC compounds measured both beluga whale stock populations, with median concentrations of 14.5 ng/g and 21.9 ng/g, respectively. Long-chain perfluorocarboxylates, PFCAs, (9 to 14 carbons) were detected more than 80 % of the time in beluga liver samples. Two odd-chain PFCAs, perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA) and perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTriA) made up a large percentage of the PFCAs measured; median concentrations of 11.4 ng/g and 10.1 ng/g, respectively. Spatially, the Cook Inlet belugas had higher concentrations of all PFCAs and PFOS; however, these belugas had a lower median concentration of PFOSA when compared to belugas from the eastern Chukchi Sea. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were seen between the Cook Inlet and eastern Chukchi Sea beluga whales for most PFCAs, PFOS, and PFOSA. Sex differences, not confounded by stock population were seen for some PFCs. In Cook Inlet, males and females had significant differences (p < 0.05) in some long-chain PFCAs and PFOSA. Eastern Chukchi Sea males and females showed a significant difference (p < 0.05) for PFOSA only. The concentration profiles suggest there are different sources of PFCs between the two locations and possible differences in uptake and excretion between sexes.