Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

General contaminant toxicology in aquatic and terrestrial species

Description

The Puget Sound has been inundated with toxic contaminants for decades. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent organic pollutants known to cause adverse health effects including endocrine, immune, reproductive and development dysfunction in a variety of vertebrate species. These contaminants are lipid soluble and are known to biomagnify in the pelagic food web. The Seattle Aquarium houses three male river otters, semi-aquatic pisciverous mustelids that in the wild, inhabit the nearshore of Puget Sound. The river otter exhibit is a closed system, and the otters are fed a diet of restaurant quality fish and shellfish. A commercially available enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine PBDE levels from fecal samples collected from the group. Overall, fecal concentrations of PBDEs were generally low (with a highest average value of 65 pg/gr dry fecal weight). Fish from the river otter’s diet were also sampled and tested for PBDE exposure. A mixture of the fish liver and muscle tissue resulted in an average value of 135 pg/gr dry weight. This study further validates the use of ELISA kits for measuring PBDE exposure in non-invasively collected river otter feces, and describes potential links between food, environment, and contaminant exposure.

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Measuring Persistent Organic Pollutants (PBDES) in River Otter Scat

2016SSEC

The Puget Sound has been inundated with toxic contaminants for decades. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent organic pollutants known to cause adverse health effects including endocrine, immune, reproductive and development dysfunction in a variety of vertebrate species. These contaminants are lipid soluble and are known to biomagnify in the pelagic food web. The Seattle Aquarium houses three male river otters, semi-aquatic pisciverous mustelids that in the wild, inhabit the nearshore of Puget Sound. The river otter exhibit is a closed system, and the otters are fed a diet of restaurant quality fish and shellfish. A commercially available enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine PBDE levels from fecal samples collected from the group. Overall, fecal concentrations of PBDEs were generally low (with a highest average value of 65 pg/gr dry fecal weight). Fish from the river otter’s diet were also sampled and tested for PBDE exposure. A mixture of the fish liver and muscle tissue resulted in an average value of 135 pg/gr dry weight. This study further validates the use of ELISA kits for measuring PBDE exposure in non-invasively collected river otter feces, and describes potential links between food, environment, and contaminant exposure.