[MARMAM] New publications: Trace elements in franciscana dolphins and microplastics in North Atlantic fin whales

Odei Garcia-Garin odei.garcia19 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 8 04:17:30 PDT 2021

Dear MARMAM list members,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to share our recent studies:

*Long-term assessment of trace elements in franciscana dolphins from the
Río de la Plata estuary and adjacent Atlantic waters *

Garcia-Garin, O., Borrell, A., Vighi, M., Aguilar, A., Valdivia, M.,
González, E. M., & Drago, M. (2021). Long-term assessment of trace elements
in franciscana dolphins from the Río de la Plata estuary and adjacent
Atlantic waters. Science of The Total Environment, 788, 147797.

The estuary of Río de la Plata, in the eastern coast ofSouth America, is a
highly anthropized area that brings a high load of contaminants to the
surrounding waters, which may have detrimental effects on the local marine
fauna. The franciscana dolphin (*Pontoporia blainvillei*) is a small
cetacean species endemic of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean listed as
Vulnerable in the IUCN red list. In this study, we assessed the
concentrations of 13 trace elements in bone samples from100 franciscana
dolphins that were found stranded dead or incidentally bycaught in the Río
de la Plata and adjacent coast between 1953 and 2015. Elements were, in
decreasing order of mean concentrations: Zn > Sr > Fe > Al > Mn > Cu > Pb >
Cr > Ni > As > Hg > Cd > Se. The concentrations of Al, Cr and Fe were
slightly higher in females than in males. The concentrations of As, Ni, and
Pb significantly decreased with body length. Throughout the study period,
the concentrations of Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn and Ni significantly increased,
while the concentrations of As, Pb and Sr significantly decreased. The
increasing trends may be due to increased inputs from river discharges, the
leather industry and petroleum refineries, while the decrease in Pb may be
due to the ban in the use of this element as an additive in gasoline and as
component of car batteries. This investigation supports the validity of
analysing trace element in bone, a tissue available in scientific
collections and museums, to retrospectively examine variation over long
temporal scales and thus assess long-term trends in pollution.

The paper can be accessed using the following link:

*Ingestion of synthetic particles by fin whales feeding off Western Iceland
in summer*

Garcia-Garin, O., Aguilar, A., Vighi, M., Víkingsson, G. A., Chosson, V., &
Borrell, A. (2021). Ingestion of synthetic particles by fin whales feeding
off Western Iceland in summer. Chemosphere, 279, 130564.

In this study we aim to assess the daily ingestion rates of synthetic
particles by the fin whales (*Balaenoptera physalus*) that feed off the
western coast of Iceland. To do so, we collected and analysed samples from
the stomach content of 25 fin whales, consisting solely of northern
krill (*Meganyctiphanes
norvegica*). The particles found consisted of fibres and fragments, mainly
blue, black and red, with an average size of 1.2 ± 1.3 mm. To confirm the
synthetic nature of these particles, we used Micro-Fourier Transform
Infrared Spectroscopy and comparison with a polymer library. The mean
concentration of synthetic particles in the krill samples found in the
stomachs of whales was 0.057 particles per gram, a value much lower than
that previously reported for particle uptake by krill. From this
concentration in krill, we estimated that the daily intake of synthetic
particles for the North Atlantic fin whale would be ranging from 38,646 ±
43,392 to 77,292 ± 86,784 particles per day. Although at this level it is
not possible to assess the impact of synthetic particles and their
associated chemicals on the North Atlantic fin whale population,
concentrations of these contaminants are likely to increase in the future,
potentially causing adverse effects on whales and other marine mammals.

Please, send me an e-mail (odei.garcia at ub.edu) for the full texts.

All the best,

Odei Garcia-Garin
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