[MARMAM] New publication on the incorporation of eco. and physiol. in toxicology research

Thea Bechshoft thea.bechshoft at ualberta.ca
Tue Nov 28 05:39:25 PST 2017

Dear all,
I am pleased to share our recent publication in Environmental Reviews,
discussing the incorporation of ecological and physiological variables in
toxicology research. The paper is a systematic review of the polar bear
literature, but the results are symptomatic of ecotox research across most
marine mammals.
For a pdf copy, please either contact me or follow the links below.

*Open acces version* - https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/78825
*Journal version* -

Bechshoft T, Derocher AE, Viengkone M, Routti H, Aars J, Letcher RJ, Dietz
R, Sonne C, Jenssen BM, Richardson E, Lunn NJ. On the integration of
ecological and physiological variables in polar bear toxicology research: a
systematic review. *Environmental Reviews*. DOI:

* <https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2016-0118> *
Ecotoxicology evolved as a scientific field as awareness of the unintended
effects of anthropogenic pollutants in biota increased. Polar bears (Ursus
maritimus) are often the focus of Arctic contaminant exposure studies
because they are apex predators with high contaminant loads. While early
studies focused on describing and quantifying pollutants, present-day polar
bear toxicological papers often incorporate ecological variables. This
systematic literature review investigates the ecological and physiological
variables that have been integrated in such studies. The systematic
literature search resulted in 207 papers, published between 1970 and 2016.
Representation of each of the 19 polar bear subpopulations varied from 0 to
72 papers; East Greenland, Barents Sea, Southern Beaufort Sea, and
Lancaster Sound had the most published research, with over 30 papers each.
Samples were collected between 1881 and 2015, primarily from harvested
bears (66%); most from the 1990s and 2000s. Adipose tissue, liver, and
blood were the most common tissues examined, and mean number of bears
analyzed per paper was 76 (range 1–691). Papers investigating temporal
trends did so using a mean sample of 61 bears over a 6-year period.The
frequency with which ecological and physiological variables were integrated
into toxicological papers varied. Age and (or) sex was the only ecological
variable(s) considered in 51% of papers. Further, a total of 37% of the
papers included in the review investigated physiological effects in
relation to contaminant concentrations. Of the papers, 98% dealt with
contaminant exposure at the individual level, leaving population level
effects largely unstudied. Solitary subadult and adult polar bears were
included in 57% and 79% of the papers, respectively. Younger bears were
included in fewer papers: yearlings in 20% and cubs-of-the-year in 13%.
Only 12% of the papers examined reproduction relative to contaminants.
Finally, body condition was included in 26% of the research papers, whereas
variables related to polar bear diet were included in ≤9%. Based on our
findings, we suggest future polar bear toxicology studies increase sample
sizes, include more ecological variables, increase studies on family
groups, and increase the applicability of studies to management and
conservation by examining pollution effects on reproduction and survival.
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