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Perfluoroalkyl substances in the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in Coastal South Carolina



Jacqueline T. Bangma, Jared Ragland, Thomas R. Rainwater, John Bowden, J. Whitfield Gibbons, Jessica L. Reiner


This study focused on an estuarine species exhibiting high site fidelity and ubiquitous distribution in coastal environments along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the US to monitor per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). A total of 75 Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) plasma samples were collected from five creeks residing on Kiawah (Oyster Creek, Fiddler Creek, Sandy Creek, Gnat Creek) and Edisto (Townsend Creek) Islands the Coast of South Carolina and investigated for 15 legacy PFAS. Of those, PFHxS was the only PFAS found in all terrapin plasma samples. Four additional PFAS were routinely detected (greater than 90 % of the samples) and were included in statistical analyses: PFOS, PFNA, PFDA, and PFUnA. Sex- differences were observed for two creeks with male plasma maintain higher PFAS than female plasma: PFHxS at Townsend Creek, and PFOS at Oyster Creek. Site differences observed were mainly determined between male populations indicating male terrapins appear to be more sensitive indicators of site differences than females. Terrapin body mass and carapace length were highly positively correlated, with males (pearson rho = 0.856) much smaller and lighter than females (pearson rho = 0.966). Three PFAS were observed to have negative correlations with body mass: PFOS in males (p=0.045, tau=-0.22), PFNA in males (p=0.0166, tau=-0.269), and PFHxS in both males (p=0.007, tau=-0.302) and females (p=0.001, tau=-0.379). No relationships for body mass and PFDA and PFUnA were observed.




Bangma, J. , Ragland, J. , Rainwater, T. , Bowden, J. , Gibbons, J. and Reiner, J. (2019), Perfluoroalkyl substances in the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in Coastal South Carolina, Chemosphere (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created February 4, 2019, Updated October 12, 2021