[MARMAM] New paper: Habitat-based PCB environmental criteria to protect killer whales

Juan Alava jj_alava at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 8 15:34:11 PST 2012

Dear Colleagues,
I am pleased to announce the publication of a new paper about the development of a bioaccumulation model and an environmental guideline for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) to protect resident killer whales in British Columbia (Canada) and surrounding areas. PDF copies of the article can be obtained from the first author (Juan José Alava:  jalavasa at sfu.ca). Please, see below more details.

Habitat-Based PCB Environmental Quality Criteria for the Protection of Endangered Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)
Juan José Alava, Peter S. Ross, Cara Lachmuth, John K. B. Ford, Brendan E. Hickie, and Frank A. P. C. Gobas
Environmental Science & Technology  Article ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) 

Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/es303062q
Publication Date (Web): October 25, 2012
Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society

The development of an area-based polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) food-web 
bioaccumulation model enabled a critical evaluation of the efficacy of 
sediment quality criteria and prey tissue residue guidelines in 
protecting fish-eating resident killer whales of British Columbia and 
adjacent waters. Model-predicted and observed PCB concentrations in 
resident killer whales and Chinook salmon were in good agreement, 
supporting the model’s application for risk assessment and criteria 
development. Model application shows that PCB concentrations in the 
sediments from the resident killer whale’s Critical Habitats and entire 
foraging range leads to PCB concentrations in most killer whales that 
exceed PCB toxicity threshold concentrations reported for marine 
mammals. Results further indicate that current PCB sediment quality and 
prey tissue residue criteria for fish-eating wildlife are not protective of killer whales and are not appropriate for assessing risks of 
PCB-contaminated sediments to high trophic level biota. We present a 
novel methodology for deriving sediment quality criteria and tissue 
residue guidelines that protect biota of high trophic levels under 
various PCB management scenarios. PCB concentrations in sediments and in prey that are deemed protective of resident killer whale health are 
much lower than current criteria values, underscoring the extreme 
vulnerability of high trophic level marine mammals to persistent and 
bioaccumulative contaminants.


Juan Jose Alava


Juan Jose Alava, PhD 
Sessional Instructor 
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science
School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment

Simon Fraser UniversityOffice 8420; 8888 University Drive 

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, CANADA 
Office Phone: (778) 782-7375 
Fax: (778)782-4968 
E-mail: jalavasa at sfu.ca 
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