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Lessons Learned from Monitoring Organic Contaminants in Three Decades of Marine Samples from the Pacific Basin Archived at the USA’s Marine Environmental Specimen Bank



Stacy S. Schuur, Paul R. Becker, Colleen E. Bryan Sallee, Rebecca S. Pugh, Jared M. Ragland, Jessica L. Reiner, Jennifer Trevillian, Michele M. Schantz


The USA’s Marine Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) has archived marine wildlife collections dating back to 1976. Numerous lessons have been learned including collecting the correct species and tissues for environmental contaminant monitoring, developing protocols for mitigating sample contamination, and ensuring that samples can be used for new analytes and techniques. Investigations of organochlorine contaminants in several collections from the Pacific basin for species, regional, and temporal trends revealed that α-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) declined for all species/regions and was lowest in samples from Hawaii while polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) 47 significantly increased in Alaskan marine mammals with the highest levels in California sea lions and adult male cetaceans that stranded in Hawaii. Chlordanes and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes (DDTs) declined except for beluga whales, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) significantly declined for only common and thick-billed murres from St. George Island, Alaska and common murres from St. Lazaria Island, Alaska. The Marine ESB is also in the process of ensuring easy access to sample information and previous analytical results for other researchers to use this invaluable resource.
Persistent Organic Chemicals in the Environment: Status and Trends in the Pacific Basin Countries II Temporal Trends
Publisher Info
American Chemical Society, Washington, DC


Marine Environmental Specimen Bank, HCH, PBDE, DDTs, PCBs, marine mammals, seabirds
Created December 1, 2016, Updated February 5, 2019