[MARMAM] New publication on Mediterranean Cuvier's beaked whale ecotoxicology

Cristina Panti panti4 at unisi.it
Mon Dec 14 03:45:19 PST 2020

Dear MARMAM members,

On behalf of all the authors, I would like to share with you our last paper
published on Scientific Reports:

"First assessment of POPs and cytochrome P450 expression in Cuvier’s beaked
whales (Ziphius cavirostris) skin biopsies from the Mediterranean Sea"

The publication can be found at: https://rdcu.be/ccaRP


The Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is one of the least known
cetacean species worldwide. The decreasing population trend and associated
threats has led to the IUCN categorising the Mediterranean subpopulation as
Vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species. This study aimed to
investigate for the first time the ecotoxicological status of Cuvier’s
beaked whale in the NW Mediterranean Sea. The study sampled around the 20%
of the individuals belonging to the Ligurian subpopulation, collecting skin
biopsies from free‑ranging specimens. The levels of polychlorinated
biphenyl (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and induction of
cytochrome’s P450 (CYP1A1 and CYP2B isoforms) were evaluated. Results
highlighted that the pattern of concentration for the target contaminants
was PCBs > PBDEs and the accumulation values were linked to age and sex,
with adult males showing significantly higher levels than juvenile.
Concerns raised by the fact that 80% of the individuals had PCB levels
above the toxicity threshold for negative physiological effects in marine
mammals. Therefore, these findings shed light on this silent and serious
threat never assessed in the Mediterranean Cuvier’s beaked whale
population, indicating that anthropogenic pressures, including chemical
pollution, may represent menaces for the conservation of this species in
the Mediterranean Sea.

Thank you for your interest in the paper!

Best regards,


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Cristina Panti, PhD

Department of Environmental, Earth and Physical Sciences

University of Siena

Via P.A. Mattioli, 4

53100, Siena


Ph. +39 0577 232245

Fax. +39 0577 232930


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