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Mar Pollut Bull. 2012 Nov;64(11):2588-98. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Persistent organic pollutants in the endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) from the main Hawaiian Islands.

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Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 1000, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA.


Little is known about levels or effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Hawaiian monk seals (HMS) from the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) subpopulation. This study examined concentrations of a large suite of POPs in blubber and serum of juvenile and adult HMS from the MHI. Adult females have the lowest blubber levels of most POPs, whereas adult males have highest levels. POPs in serum were significantly different in adult males compared with adult females for chlordanes and summed dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs). Lipid-normalized concentrations of chlordanes, DDTs, polychlorinated biphenyls, and mirex in paired blubber and serum samples were significantly correlated. Contaminant levels from the MHI were at similar or lower levels than those from remote Northwestern Hawaiian Island populations. Determining initial ranges of POPs is an important step towards assessing one of the many potential health threats to this critically endangered species.

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