Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 255-263

First online:

Metals in Tissues of Diamondback Terrapin from New Jersey

  • Joanna BurgerAffiliated withDivision of Life Sciences, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute

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Relatively little is known about contaminants in reptiles, particularly turtles. The distribution of metals in eggs, liverand muscle of diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) was examined from Barnegat Bay, New Jersey as part of an aquatic study to understand movement of contaminants in the bay. Lead and cadmium were relatively low in all tissues. There were significant differences among tissues for all metals, except lead. Where there were significant differences, levels werehighest in the liver, except for chromium. Levels of mercurywere 6.6 times higher in the liver than muscle, and manganeselevels were 4 times as high. The levels of metals in muscle ofdiamondback terrapin are below those that might cause effects inconsumers, including humans who eat them in stews. However, thelevel of mercury in liver is sufficiently high to be problematicfor consumers and scavengers that eat liver.

Barnegat Bay biomonitoring consumers metals turtles