[MARMAM] New paper: high levels of persistent organic pollutants in false killer whales

Robin W Baird RWBaird at cascadiaresearch.org
Fri Oct 2 15:57:12 PDT 2009

The following has been published on-line:
Ylitalo, G.M., R.W. Baird, G.K. Yanagida, D.L. Webster, S.J. Chivers, J.L. Bolton, G.S. Schorr and D.J. McSweeney. 2009. High levels of persistent organic pollutants measured in blubber of island-associated false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) around the main Hawaiian Islands. Marine Pollution Bulletin doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.08.029. 
There is a no abstract but a brief summary is below.
There is a small island-associated population of false killer whales around the main Hawaiian Islands. There is evidence this population may have declined substantially over the last 20 years. To assess the potential that contaminants may be a risk factor for the population, biopsy samples were obtained from nine individuals from the island-associated population in 2008, and samples were analyzed for a variety of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Individuals were sexed genetically, and information on body size and re-sighting history was used to assess age class (adult/juvenile). The highest levels of POPs documented were PCBs and DDTs. Adult females had lower concentrations than adult males or juveniles. Subadult whales had the highest levels of PBDE flame retardants. Levels of PCBs in three individuals were above the threshold where health effects may occur.
A copy can be obtained from Science Direct (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0025326X), from Gina Ylitalo (gina.ylitalo at noaa.gov), or from www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii/falsekillerwhale.htm
Robin W. Baird, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Cascadia Research Collective
218 1/2 W. 4th Avenue
Olympia, WA
98501 USA
Fax 1-360-943-7026
e-mail: rwbaird at cascadiaresearch.org
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