Emerging contaminants in loggerhead and Kempís ridley sea turtles from the southeastern coast of the U.S.† ††


Jennifer M. Keller1, K. Kannan2, S. Taniyasu2, N. Yamashita2, R. Day1, M.D. Arendt3, P.P. Maier3, A.L. Segars3, J.D. Whitaker3, K. Aleksa4, John R. Kucklick1


1National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory, 331 Ft. Johnson Rd., Charleston, SC, USA. 2Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology, SUNY, Albany, NY, USA. 3South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC, USA. 4National Research Council Research Experience for Undergraduates, Grice Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC, USA.


Studies measuring organic contaminants in sea turtles have focused primarily on compounds that were banned in the U.S. decades ago, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides. Current-use compounds have recently been found at significant concentrations in wildlife and humans.† Two classes of compounds of emerging interest are the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), used as stain repellents and in fire-fighting foams and food packaging, and the flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).† This study examined 12 PFCs in plasma of 73 loggerhead and 6 Kempís ridley sea turtles.† Juvenile turtles were captured in Core Sound, North Carolina (NC) and in offshore waters of South Carolina (SC), Georgia (GA), and Florida (FL).† Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were the predominant PFCs detected with respective mean (standard deviation) concentrations of 11.0 (17.2) ng/mL and 3.20 (1.49) ng/mL for loggerhead turtles and 39.4 (17.1) ng/mL and 3.57 (0.55) ng/mL for Kempís ridley turtles.† PFOS concentrations were comparable to PFOS concentrations measured in human serum, but they were 3 to 10 times higher than the concentration of ΣPCBs typically measured in the blood of these turtles. Gender did not influence the ΣPFC concentrations in loggerhead turtles.† Loggerhead turtles captured from inshore waters of NC had significantly higher ΣPFCs concentrations than those captured in offshore waters of SC, GA, and FL.† Using only the turtles captured in the offshore project, backwards stepwise regression models showed that the Kempís ridley turtles had significantly higher ΣPFC concentrations than the loggerhead turtles; turtle weight (proxy for age) was positively related to ΣPFC concentrations; and turtles captured at higher latitudes had greater ΣPFC concentrations.† These findings suggest that bioaccumulation of PFCs in turtles may be influenced by trophic level, age, and capture location.† Preliminary studies show that PBDEs are also present in loggerhead turtle plasma. †Future studies will examine temporal changes in PBDE concentrations using archived samples.†


Contact info:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mentor:

Jennifer M. Keller†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Michele Schantz

NIST Ė CSTL - Analytical Chemistry Division††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† NIST Ė CSTL - Analytical Chemistry Division

Hollings Marine Laboratory†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 100 Bureau Dr. Mail Stop 8392

331 Ft. Johnson Rd.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Gaithersburg, MD† 20899 8392††††††††††

Charleston, SC† 29412

Office 843-762-8863††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Office:† 301-975-3106

Fax 843-762-8742††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Fax:† 301-977-0685†††††††††††††††

Jennifer.keller@noaa.gov†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Michele.schantz@nist.gov

I am not a member of Sigma Xi.

Category:† Chemistry