Since 1987, the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP) has collected tissues from 18 marine mammals species. Specimens are archived in the National Institute of Standards and Technology s National Biomonitoring Specimen Bank (NIST-NBSB). AMMTAP has collected blubber, liver and/or kidney specimens from a number of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) from the areas near Nome and Barrow, Alaska and walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) from several locations in the Bering Sea. Thirty-three ringed seal and 15 walrus blubber samples from the NIST-NBSB were analyzed for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by the NIST and/or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC). The compounds determined included PCBs (28 congeners or congener groups), DDT and related compounds, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs), chlordanes, dieldrin, and mirex. For ringed seals, POPs were measured in 10 females and 7 males from Barrow and 8 males and 8 females from Nome. NWFSC and NIST jointly analyzed 17 of the samples for POPs; 8 were analyzed only by NIST and 8 only by NWFSC. Blubber from eight male and six female walrus was analyzed along with one sample with no gender information. POP concentrations in ringed seal blubber were significantly higher in Barrow than in Nome when statistically accounting for the interaction of age and gender; HCB, however, was not statistically different between the two locations. Unlike males, POP concentrations and age were not significantly correlated in females probably as a result from lactational loss. Walrus POP concentrations were lower than ringed seal blubber concentrations for ?PCBs, chlordanes, and HCHs, but higher for dieldrin and mirex.
Citation: Journal of Environmental Monitoring
Pub Type: Journals
Alaska, geographical trends, persistent organic pollutants, ringed seal, specimen bank, walrus