[MARMAM] New Publication: Whiskers provide time-series of toxic and essential trace elements, Se:Hg molar ratios, and stable isotope values of an apex Antarctic predator, the leopard seal

Charapata, Patrick Patrick_Charapata1 at baylor.edu
Mon Sep 19 12:31:59 PDT 2022


Dear MARMAM Community,

On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I am excited to share with you all our new research article: “Whiskers provide time-series of toxic and essential trace elements, Se:Hg molar ratios, and stable isotope values of an apex Antarctic predator, the leopard seal”, now available in Science of the Total Environment. The article can be obtained Open Access by following this specific link<https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fauthors.elsevier.com%2Fa%2F1fn93B8ccurCV&data=05%7C01%7CPatrick_charapata1%40baylor.edu%7C914c60fee8504eb10e1f08da9a2c5fc8%7C22d2fb35256a459bbcf4dc23d42dc0a4%7C0%7C0%7C637991813542486592%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=yAq2LFzvH1XHTnBp6YXDOg235B70BhJD9wBb0vuuass%3D&reserved=0> for the next 50 days.

Charapata, P., Clark, C. T., Miller, N., Kienle, S. S., Costa, D. P., Goebel, M. E., Gunn, H., Sperou, E. S., Kanatous, S. B., Crocker, D. E., Borras-Chavez, R., & Trumble, S. J. (2023). Whiskers provide time-series of toxic and essential trace elements, Se:Hg molar ratios, and stable isotope values of an apex Antarctic predator, the leopard seal. Science of The Total Environment, 854, 158651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158651<https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fauthors.elsevier.com%2Fa%2F1fn93B8ccurCV&data=05%7C01%7CPatrick_charapata1%40baylor.edu%7C914c60fee8504eb10e1f08da9a2c5fc8%7C22d2fb35256a459bbcf4dc23d42dc0a4%7C0%7C0%7C637991813542486592%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=yAq2LFzvH1XHTnBp6YXDOg235B70BhJD9wBb0vuuass%3D&reserved=0>

Abstract

In an era of rapid environmental change and increasing human presence, researchers need efficient tools for tracking contaminants to monitor the health of Antarctic flora and fauna. Here, we examined the utility of leopard seal whiskers as a biomonitoring tool that reconstructs time-series of significant ecological and physiological biomarkers. Leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) are a sentinel species in the Western Antarctic Peninsula due to their apex predator status and top-down effects on several Antarctic species. However, there are few data on their contaminant loads. We analyzed leopard seal whiskers (n = 18 individuals, n = 981 segments) collected during 2018–2019 field seasons to acquire longitudinal profiles of non-essential (Hg, Pb, and Cd) and essential (Se, Cu, and Zn) trace elements, stable isotope (ẟ15N and ẟ13C) values and to assess Hg risk with Se:Hg molar ratios. Whiskers provided between 46 and 286 cumulative days of growth with a mean ~ 125 days per whisker (n = 18). Adult whiskers showed variability in non-essential trace elements over time that could partly be explained by changes in diet. Whisker Hg levels were insufficient (<20 ppm) to consider most seals being at “high” risk for Hg toxicity. Nevertheless, maximum Hg concentrations observed in this study were greater than that of leopard seal hair measured two decades ago. However, variation in the Se:Hg molar ratios over time suggest that Se may detoxify Hg burden in leopard seals. Overall, we provide evidence that the analysis of leopard seal whiskers allows for the reconstruction of time-series ecological and physiological data and can be valuable for opportunistically monitoring the health of the leopard seal population and their Antarctic ecosystem during climate change.

Please email me (Patrick_charapata1 at baylor.edu<mailto:Patrick_charapata1 at baylor.edu>) with any questions on the paper. Additionally, I will happily send over a PDF copy if anyone requests it! Thank you!!

Cheers,

Patrick Charapata, PhD – Baylor University
Postdoctoral Researcher  – NWFSC/NOAA






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