[MARMAM] A Recent article on PCBs and PBDEs in Galapagos sea lions

Juan Alava jj_alava at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 8 19:03:24 PST 2009

Dear colleagues,

Please, find attached the first article on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Galapagos sea lion published recently in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. This paper is focused on PCBs, PBDEs, dioxins/furans. We are finishing an article on DDT concentrations and health risk effects in this tropical pinniped species, as well.

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Article: pp. 2271–2282 
Juan J. Alava†, Michael G. Ikonomou‡, Peter S. Ross‡, Daniel Costa§, Sandie Salazar∥, David Aurioles-Gamboa#, and Frank A.P.C. Gobas*,† 
† School of Resource and Environmental Management
(Environmental Toxicology Research Group), Simon Fraser University,
8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada 
‡ Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 9860 West
Saanich Road P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, Canada 
§ Center for Ocean Health, University of California, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA 
∥ Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galápagos, P.O. Box 17-1-3891, Quito, Ecuador 
# Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico
Nacional, Avenue IPN s/n. Colonia Playa Palo de Santa Rita, La Paz Baja
California Sur, C. P. 23060, Mexico 

Abstract-Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
(PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were measured in
muscle–blubber biopsy samples from 21 Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)
pups that were live captured in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) using
gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry. Only traces of
PBDEs were detected in one male pup, whereas PCDDs and PCDFs were not
detected in any sample. The total concentration of PCBs (ΣPCB) in the
pups averaged 104 µg/kg lipid (range, 49–384 µg/kg). No statistically
significant differences in ΣPCB were observed among the four study
sites in the Galapagos Islands. Concentrations of PCB congeners in
Galapagos sea lion pups were dominated by low-molecular-weight
congeners. These results suggest that global transport is the main
source for PCBs in Galapagos sea lions. The ΣPCB levels were below
immunotoxic and endocrine-disruption thresholds in pinnipeds,
suggesting a limited risk of adverse health effects. The present study
indicates that Galapagos sea lions can serve as a useful sentinel of
pollutants with a long-range transport capacity and that Galapagos
Islands are not exempt from the threats of global pollutants despite
its remote locale.

Keywords: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers; Polychlorinated biphenyls; Galapagos sea lions; Galapagos Islands; Atmospheric transport
Electronic copies/reprints (as pdf files) are available by request to jalavasa at sfu.ca


Juan Jose Alava
Juan Jose Alava
PhD Candidate/Graduate Research Assistant
Teaching Assistant-Environmental Risk Assessment of Hazardous Substances
Environmental Toxicology Research Group
School of Resource & Environmental Management
Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University
TASC-1; Office 8404; 8888 University Drive 
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, CANADA
Office Phone: (778)782-7375
Lab Phone: (778)782-5776
Fax: (778)782-4968
E-mail: jalavasa at sfu.ca

Collaborating-Visiting Scientist
Charles Darwin Foundation/Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS)
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, 
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
P.O. Box 17-1-3891 Quito - Ecuador

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