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Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Feb 15;79(1-2):236-44. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.12.007. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Global assessment of oceanic lead pollution using sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as an indicator species.

Author information

  • 1Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA; Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA; Department of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Southern Maine, 178 Science Building, Portland, ME 04104, USA.
  • 2Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA.
  • 3Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA; Department of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Southern Maine, 178 Science Building, Portland, ME 04104, USA.
  • 4Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of Connecticut, 3107 Horsebarn Hill Road, U-4210, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
  • 5Yale School of Public Health, P.O. Box 208034, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
  • 6Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA; Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, ME 04104, USA; Department of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Southern Maine, 178 Science Building, Portland, ME 04104, USA. Electronic address: John.Wise@usm.maine.edu.

Abstract

Lead (Pb) is an oceanic pollutant of global concern. Anthropogenic activities are increasing oceanic levels, but to an unknown extent. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has a global distribution and high trophic level. The aim of this study was to establish a global baseline of oceanic Pb concentrations using free-ranging sperm whales as an indicator species. Skin biopsies (n=337) were collected during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) from 17 regions considering gender and age. Pb was detectable in 315 samples with a global mean of 1.6 ug/gww ranging from 0.1 to 129.6 ug/gww. Papua New Guinea, Bahamas and Australia had the highest regional mean with 6.1, 3.4, and 3.1 ug/gww, respectively. Pb concentrations were not significantly different between sex and age in males. This is the first global toxicological dataset for Pb in a marine mammal and confirms Pb is widely distributed with hotspots in some regions.

Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

Atlantic Ocean; Indian Ocean; Lead; Mediterranean Sea; Pacific Ocean; Sperm whale

PMID:
24361115
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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