Presentation Abstract

Salish Sea’s killer whale populations are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world and face risks related to the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and related contaminants such as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs). While PCBs have long been banned, they continue to present toxic risks to marine mammals, along with a number of other, emerging persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) contaminants. Since PBTs have been identified as a threat to the recovery of resident killer whale populations under the auspices of the US Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA), documenting the presence, trends and health effects of emerging PBT contaminants represents an important line of research. In the summer of 2016 and 2017, we collected blubber biopsies from 10 southern resident and nine northern resident killer whales. PCB and PBDE analyses were conducted using high resolution gas chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry. Given the likelihood of significant temporal changes in the concentrations of these contaminants, this study will provide updated contaminant concentration data and strengthen our ability to prioritize contaminants of concern in resident killer whales. In addition, stable isotope and fatty acid analyses will provide important information on diet and nutritional status. Together with analyses of the expression of essential genes involved in immune response, hormone regulation and lipid metabolism, this study provides new essential information on the health status of resident killer whales as it relates to contaminant exposure and will help inform the development and application of recovery action plans.

Session Title

Contaminants in Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea and Their Food Web

Keywords

Killer whale, Contaminants, Killer whale health

Conference Track

SSE3: Fate, Transport, and Toxicity of Chemicals

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE3-228

Start Date

4-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 2:15 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 2:00 PM Apr 4th, 2:15 PM

PCB and PBDE levels in southern and northern resident killer whales: update on contaminant levels and related health effects

Salish Sea’s killer whale populations are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world and face risks related to the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and related contaminants such as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs). While PCBs have long been banned, they continue to present toxic risks to marine mammals, along with a number of other, emerging persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) contaminants. Since PBTs have been identified as a threat to the recovery of resident killer whale populations under the auspices of the US Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA), documenting the presence, trends and health effects of emerging PBT contaminants represents an important line of research. In the summer of 2016 and 2017, we collected blubber biopsies from 10 southern resident and nine northern resident killer whales. PCB and PBDE analyses were conducted using high resolution gas chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry. Given the likelihood of significant temporal changes in the concentrations of these contaminants, this study will provide updated contaminant concentration data and strengthen our ability to prioritize contaminants of concern in resident killer whales. In addition, stable isotope and fatty acid analyses will provide important information on diet and nutritional status. Together with analyses of the expression of essential genes involved in immune response, hormone regulation and lipid metabolism, this study provides new essential information on the health status of resident killer whales as it relates to contaminant exposure and will help inform the development and application of recovery action plans.