[MARMAM] New publication on Southern Resident killer whales sampled near Washington state, USA

Jessica Lundin - NOAA Affiliate jessica.lundin at noaa.gov
Thu Oct 11 13:34:01 PDT 2018

We are excited to share a new publication on a wild (and endangered)
population of killer whales sampled near Washington state.  "Pre-oil spill
baseline profiling for contaminants in Southern Resident killer whales
fecal samples indicates possible exposure to vessel exhaust" will appear in
the November 2018 issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin.

The article is available at the link below.  The abstract follows the
link.  Thank you for your interest!


The Southern Resident killer whale population (Orcinus orca) was listed as
endangered in 2005 and shows little sign of recovery. Exposure to
contaminants and risk of an oil spill are identified threats. Previous
studies on contaminants have largely focused on legacy pollutants. Here we
measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in whale fecal (scat)
samples. PAHs are a diverse group of hazardous compounds (e.g.,
carcinogenic, mutagenic), and are a component of crude and refined oil as
well as motor exhaust. The central finding from this study indicates low
concentrations of the measured PAHs (< 10 ppb, wet weight), as expected;
however, PAHs were as high as 104 ppb prior to implementation of guidelines
mandating increased distance between vessels and whales. While causality is
unclear, the potential PAH exposure from vessels warrants continued
monitoring.  Historical precedent similarly emphasizes the importance of
having pre-oil spill exposure data available as baseline to guide
remediation goals.

Jessica I. Lundin, Ph.D.
National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ecotoxicology Program
NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
2725 Montlake Blvd.East
Seattle, WA 98112
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