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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Apr 1;44(7):2675-81. doi: 10.1021/es903534r.

Stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen and mercury concentrations in 13 toothed whale species taken from the western Pacific Ocean off Japan.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Ishikari-Tobetsu, Hokkaido, Japan.


Stable isotope ratios of carbon (partial differential(13)C) and nitrogen (partial differential(15)N) and total mercury (T-Hg) concentrations were measured in red meat samples from 11 odontocete species (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) sold in Japan (n = 96) and in muscle samples from stranded killer whales (n = 6) and melon-headed whales (n = 15), and the analytical data for these species were classified into three regions (northern, central, and southern Japan) depending on the locations in which they were caught or stranded. The partial differential(15)N in the samples from southern Japan tended to be lower than that in samples from the north, whereas both partial differential(13)C and T-Hg concentrations in samples from the south tended to higher than those in samples from northern Japan. Negative correlations were found between the partial differential(13)C and partial differential(15)N values and between the partial differential(15)N value and T-Hg concentrations in the combined samples all three regions (gamma= -0.238, n = 117, P < 0.01). The partial differential(13)C, partial differential(15)N, and T-Hg concentrations in the samples varied more by habitat than by species. Spatial variations in partial differential(13)C, partial differential(15)N, and T-Hg concentrations in the ocean may be the cause of these phenomena.

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