Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Persistent Organic Pollutants in Blood Plasma of Satellite-Tracked Adult Male Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta)



Jared M. Ragland, Michael D. Arendt, John Kucklick, Jennifer Lynch


Organohalogen contaminant (OHC) threats remain largely a mystery for threatened loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). This study examines regional-scale OHC differences in blood plasma from adult male C.caretta based on movement patterns. Turtles were captured in Port Canaveral, FL, in April of 2006 and 2007 and fitted with satellite transmitters as part of a NMFS project. Residents (n=9) remained near the capture site while transients (n=10) migrated northward, becoming established in areas largely from south of Pamlico Sound, NC, to north of Cape May, NJ. Blood was sampled from the dorsocervical sinus of each turtle and analyzed for legacy contaminants (OCPs and PCBs) and contaminants of emerging concern (PBDEs and toxaphene) using GCMS. Blood plasma concentrations of OCPs and PBDEs were elevated in transients (p<0.05). Migratory adults showed atypical PBDE patterns with PBDE 154 as the dominant congener. Additionally, PCB congener patterns differed between the two groups with PCBs slightly elevated in transients. This supports that foraging location can have dramatic effects on OHC exposure and pattern in highly mobile species such as C.caretta. Understanding patterns of contamination informs wildlife managers about possible health risks to certain subpopulations. In addition, this study is the first to examine OHCs in the rarely studied adult male sea turtle and to couple contaminant measurements with satellite tracking.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


turtle, reptile, persistent organic pollutants, satellite tagging


Ragland, J. , Arendt, M. , Kucklick, J. and Lynch, J. (2011), Persistent Organic Pollutants in Blood Plasma of Satellite-Tracked Adult Male Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta), Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Accessed July 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created March 9, 2011, Updated October 12, 2021