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Persistent Organic Pollutants and Vitamins in Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus) Collected from St. Paul Island, Alaska as Part of the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project

Published

Author(s)

John R. Kucklick, Jessica L. Reiner, Michele M. Schantz, Jennifer M. Lynch, Jennifer Trevillian, Catherine A. Rimmer, Rebecca S. Pugh, Jody Rhoderick, Jennifer Ness, Paul R. Becker, Danielle Peterson

Abstract

Liver and blubber samples from 50 juvenile male northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) were collected on St. Paul Island from four different seal rookeries between 1987 and 2007. Samples were analyzed for vitamins and for both legacy and current-use persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The resultant data set provides information on how concentrations of the two groups of POPs are changing with time in the northern fur seal population. Legacy POPs determined included polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs), DDT and metabolites, chlorobenzenes, toxaphene, chlordane-related compounds, and mirex. With the exception of mirex, all legacy compounds showed statistically significant declines with sampling year consistent with trends observed in marine mammals from other northern areas such as the Canadian Arctic. Overall, concentrations of legacy POPs are similar to levels seen in seal samples from other areas of the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea and are considerably lower (factor of 10 or greater) than observed in marine mammals from temperate regions of the United States. The current-use brominated flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), showed exponential increases with sampling year although PBDE concentrations may be reaching a plateau. Likewise, perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFAAs) also show exponential increases with sampling year indicating continued release and incorporation into the North Pacific food web. Concentrations of retinol and a- and g-tocopherol (vitamin E) in liver were not related to POP concentrations, year of sampling, or the rookery where the seal sample originated. POP concentrations do not appear to influence vitamin concentrations as observed in other wildlife studies. Further monitoring of northern fur seals is warranted because of increasing concentrations of current-use POPs and declining northern fur seal populations.
Citation
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7958
Report Number
7958

Keywords

persistent organic pollutants, vitamins, specimen banking, marine mammal, North Pacific Ocean, time trend

Citation

Kucklick, J. , Reiner, J. , Schantz, M. , Lynch, J. , Trevillian, J. , Rimmer, C. , Pugh, R. , Rhoderick, J. , Ness, J. , Becker, P. and Peterson, D. (2013), Persistent Organic Pollutants and Vitamins in Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus) Collected from St. Paul Island, Alaska as Part of the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.IR.7958 (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created August 1, 2013, Updated January 27, 2020