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Investigating the potential role of persistent organic pollutants in Hawaiian green sea turtle fibropapillomatosis



Jennifer M. Lynch


It has been hypothesized for decades that environmental pollutants may contribute to green sea turtle fibropapillomatosis (FP) possibly through immunosuppression leading to greater susceptibility to the herpesvirus, the putative causative agent of this tumor-forming disease. To address this question, we measured concentrations of 164 persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and halogenated phenols in 53 Hawaiian green turtle (Chelonia mydas) plasma samples archived by the Biological and Environmental Monitoring and Archival of Sea Turtle Tissues (BEMAST) project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Marine Environmental Specimen Bank. Four groups of turtles were examined: free-ranging turtles from Kiholo Bay (0% FP), Kailua Bay (low FP, 8%), and Kapoho Bay (moderate FP, 38%) and severely tumored stranded turtles that required euthanasia (high FP, 100%). Four classes of POPs and seven halogenated phenols were detected in a subset of the turtles at low concentrations (often
Environmental Science & Technology


Blood, marine organism health, Fibropapillomatosis, Hawaiian green sea turtle, Persistent organic pollutants, Halogenated phenolic compounds


Lynch, J. (2014), Investigating the potential role of persistent organic pollutants in Hawaiian green sea turtle fibropapillomatosis, Environmental Science & Technology, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created June 25, 2014, Updated January 27, 2020