Organochlorine levels in North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) blubber

  • Thomas H. Woodley
  • Moira W. Brown
  • Scott D. Kraus
  • David E. Gaskin
Article

Abstract

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), total DDT (DDT+DDE+DDD), dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordanes, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were found in blubber biopsies from endangered North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the Bay of Fundy and on Browns-Baccaro Banks. Analyses included four sex and age class composite samples from 1988, and 21 individual samples from 1989. Generally, PCBs demonstrated the highest wet weight residue levels (up to 1.9 μg/g), followed by total DDT (DDT+DDE+DDD) (trace to 0.47 μg/g). Relatively low residue levels in adult females suggest that transmammary organochlorine (OC) residue transfer occurs during lactation. The actual blubber residue loads may have been under-estimated, because the samples were taken when the whales were depositing fat reserves and the samples may not have been representative of the remainder of the blubber.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Addison RF (1989) Organochlorines and marine mammal reproduction. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 46:360–368Google Scholar
  2. Aguilar A (1985) Compartmentation and reliability of sampling procedures in organochlorine pollution surveys of cetaceans. Residue Reviews 95:91–114Google Scholar
  3. Aguilar A, Jover L (1982) DDT and PCB residues in the Fin Whale,Balaenoptera physalus, of the North Atlantic. Rep Int Whal Commn 32:299–301Google Scholar
  4. Brown MW, Kraus SD, Gaskin DE (1991) Reactions of North Atlantic right whales,Eubalaena glacialis, to skin biopsy sampling for genetic and pollutant analysis. Rep Int Whal Commn Special Issue 13Google Scholar
  5. Crone MJ, Kraus SD (1990) Right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), in the western North Atlantic: A catalogue of identified individuals. New England Aquarium, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  6. Gaskin DE (1982) The ecology of whales and dolphins. Heinemann, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  7. — (1987) Updated status of the right whale,Eubalaena glacialis, in Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 101:295–309Google Scholar
  8. Gaskin DE, Holdrinet M, Frank R (1982) DDT residues in blubber of harbour porpoise,Phocoena phocoena (L.), from eastern Canadian waters during the five-year-period 1969–1973. Mammals in the Seas, FAO Fisheries Ser. 5(4):135–143Google Scholar
  9. Gaskin DE, Frank R, Holdrinet M (1983) Polychlorinated biphenyls in harbour porpoisePhocoena phocoena (L.) from the Bay of Fundy, Canada and adjacent waters, with some information on chlordane and hexachlorobenzene levels. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 12:211–219Google Scholar
  10. Helle E, Olsson M, Jensen S (1976a) PCB levels correlated with pathological changes in seal uteri. Ambio 5:261–263Google Scholar
  11. —,—, — (1976b) DDT and PCB levels and reproduction in ringed seal from the Bothnian Bay. Ambio 5:188–189Google Scholar
  12. Kraus SD (1985) A review of the status of right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the western North Atlantic with a summary of research and management needs. U.S. National Technical Information Services Publication PB86-154143, 61 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. — (1990) Rates and potential causes of mortality in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). Mar Mamm Sci 6(4):278–291Google Scholar
  14. Kraus SD, Moore KE, Price CA, Crone MJ, Watkins WA, Winn HE, Prescott JH (1986) The use of photographs to identify individual North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). In: Brownell RL Jr., Best PB, Prescott JH (eds) Right whales: Past and present status. Rep Int Whal Commn Special Issue 10:145–151Google Scholar
  15. Lambertsen RH (1987) A biopsy system for large whales and its use for cytogenetics. J Mammal 68:443–445Google Scholar
  16. Le Boeuf BJ, Bonnell ML (1971) DDT in California sea lions. Nature 234:108–110Google Scholar
  17. Lockyer CH, McConnell LC, Waters TD (1985) Body condition in terms of anatomical and biochemical assessment of body fat in North Atlantic fin and Sci whales. Can J Zool 63:2328–2338Google Scholar
  18. Martineau D, Beland P, Desjardins C, Lagace A (1987) Levels of organochlorine chemicals in the tissues of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 16:137–147Google Scholar
  19. Masse R, Martineau D, Tremblay L, Beland P (1986) Concentrations and chromatographic profile of DDT metabolites and poly-chlorobiphenyl (PCB) residues in stranded beluga whales (Del-phinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 15:567–579Google Scholar
  20. McNab BK (1980) Food habits, energetics, and the population biology of mammals. Am Nat 116:106–124Google Scholar
  21. Muir DCG, Wagemann R, Grift NP, Norstrom RJ, Simon M, Lien J (1988) Organochlorine chemical and heavy metal contaminants in white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) and pilot whales (Globicephala melaena) from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 17:613–629Google Scholar
  22. Murison LD, Gaskin DE (1989) The distribution of right whales and zooplankton in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Can J Zool 67:1411–1420Google Scholar
  23. NOAA (1990) Draft national recovery plan for the northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Prepared by the Right Whale Recovery Team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington, DC, 77 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Reijnders PJH (1980) Organochlorine and heavy metal residues in harbour seals from the Wadden Sea and their possible effect on reproduction. Neth J Sea Res 14:30–65Google Scholar
  25. Ronald K, Frank RJ, Dougan JL, Frank R, Braun HE (1984) Pollutants in harp seals (Phoca groenlandica). I. Organochlorines. Sci Total Environ 38:133–152Google Scholar
  26. Wagemann R, Muir DCG (1984) Concentrations of heavy metals and organochlorines in marine mammals of northern waters: Overview and evaluation. Can Tech Rep Fish Aquat Sci No. 1279, 97ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas H. Woodley
    • 1
  • Moira W. Brown
    • 1
  • Scott D. Kraus
    • 2
  • David E. Gaskin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.New England Aquarium, Central WharfBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations