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Environ Pollut. 2004 Sep;131(2):197-204.

Trace metal and stable isotope measurements (delta13C and delta15N) in the harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena relicta from the Black Sea.

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MARE Center, Laboratory for Oceanology, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (delta13C and delta15N) and trace metals (Cd, Zn, Cu, Fe, Se, and Hg) were analysed in the tissues of 46 harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena relicta) caught in fishing nets along the Ukrainian coasts between 1997 and 1998. Mean delta13C values differed significantly between male and female harbour porpoises suggesting a trophic segregation between sexes with a more coastal distribution for females at least during their gestation and nursing periods. Hepatic Hg was correlated to delta13C measurements, reflecting a different exposure linked to coastal vs offshore feeding habitats. A geographical comparison with existing data from other regions showed general low levels of Hg, Cd, Cu and Zn in the tissues of harbour porpoises from the Black Sea compared to other Atlantic and North Sea areas.

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