Skip to main content

Toxic Element Concentrations in the Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus), Striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and Risso’s (Grampus griseus) Dolphins Stranded in Eastern Adriatic Sea

Abstract

Concentrations of cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) were measured in muscle, liver and kidney of three cetacean species, the bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus), striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and Risso’s (Grampus griseus) dolphins from the Croatian waters of the Adriatic Sea. In all three dolphin species Cd levels decreased in tissues in the order: kidney > liver > muscle, while As and Pb decreased in the order: liver > kidney > muscle for striped and Risso’s dolphins, but with the order reversed for liver and kidney in the bottlenose dolphin for Pb. Levels of Hg consistently followed the order: liver > muscle > kidney, with mean concentrations in the liver being 11–34 times higher than in the other tissues. The highest mean concentrations of trace elements were measured in Risso’s dolphins at 14.9 μg/g wet weight, for Cd in the kidney, and concentrations in the liver of 2.41, 1,115 and 0.63 μg/g for As, Hg and Pb, respectively. Statistically significant differences between the three dolphin species were determined for Cd, Hg and Pb in liver tissues, for As in muscle and for Cd in kidney. Significant correlations of metals between tissues were determined in all three species. The results presented give an indication of the environmental condition with regard to the content of toxic metals along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Blanco C, Aznar J, Raga JA (1995) Cephalopods in the diet of the striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba from the western Mediterranean during an epizootic in 1990. J Zool 237:151–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Becker PR, Mackey EA, Demiralp R, Suydam R, Early G, Koster BJ, Wise SA (1995) Relationship of silver with selenium and mercury in the liver of two species of toothed whales (odontocetes). Mar Poll Bull 30:262–271

    Google Scholar 

  3. Capelli R, Das K, De Pellegrini R, Drava G, Lepoint G, Miglio C, Minganti V, Poggi R (2008) Distribution of trace elements in organs of six species of cetaceans from the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean), and the relationship with stable carbon and nitrogen ratios. Sci Total Environ 390:569–578

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Cardellicchio N, Giandomenico S, Ragone P, Di Leo A (2000) Tissue distribution of metals in striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from the Apulian coasts, Southern Italy. Mar Environ Res 49:55–66

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Cardellicchio N, Decataldo A, Di Leo A, Misino A (2002a) Accumulation and tissue distribution of mercury and selenium in striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from the Mediterranean Sea (Southern Italy). Environ Poll 116:265–271

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Cardellicchio N, Decataldo A, Di Leo A, Giandomenico S (2002b) Trace elements in organs and tissues of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from the Mediterranean sea (Southern Italy). Chemosphere 49:85–90

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Carvalho ML, Pereira RA, Brito J (2002) Heavy metals in soft tissues of Tursiops truncatus and Delphinus delphis from west Atlantic Ocean by X-ray spectrometry. Sci Total Environ 292:247–254

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Frodello JP, Romeo M, Viale D (2000) Distribution of mercury in the organs and tissues of five toothed-whale species of the Mediterranean. Environ Poll 108:447–452

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Gomercic H, Duras M, Lucic H, Gomercic T, Huber D, Skrtic D, Curkovic S, Galov A, Vukovic S (2002) Cetacean mortality in Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea in period from 1990 till February 2002. In: Proceedings of the 9th international congress on the zoogeography and ecology of Greece and adjacent regions, Thessaloniki, Greece, 22–25 May 2002

  10. Hohn AA, Scott MD, Wells RS, Sweeney J, Irvine AB (1998) Growth layers in teeth from wild, known-age bottlenose dolphins. Mar Mamm Sci 5:315–342

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Lahaye V, Bustamante P, Dabin W, Van Canneyt O, Dhermain F, Cesarini C, Pierce GJ, Caurant F (2006) New insights from age determination on toxic element accumulation in striped and bottlenose dolphins from Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Mar Poll Bull 52:1219–1230

    Google Scholar 

  12. Pompe-Gotal J, Srebočan E, Gomerčić H, Prevendar Crnić A (2009) Mercury concentrations in the tissues of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruloalba) stranded on the Croatian Adriatic coast. Vet Med-Cezsh 54:598–604

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Roditi-Elasar M, Kerem D, Hornung H, Kress N, Shoham-Frider E, Goffman O, Spanier E (2003) Heavy metal levels in bottlenose and striped dolphins off the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Mar Poll Bull 46:503–512

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Shoham-Frider E, Amiel S, Roditi-Elasar M, Kress N (2002) Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) stranding on the coast of Israel (eastern Mediterranean). Autopsy results and trace metal concentrations. Sci Total Environ 295:157–166

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Shoham-Frider E, Kress N, Wynne D, Scheinin A, Roditi-Elsar M, Kerem D (2009) Persistent organochlorine pollutants and heavy metals in tissues of common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) from the Levantine Basin of the Eastern Mediterranean. Chemosphere 77:621–627

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Slooten E (1991) Age, growth, and reproduction in Hector’s dolphins. Can J Zool 69:1689–1700

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Storelli MM, Marcotrigiano GO (2000) Environmental contamination in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus): relationship between levels of metals, methylmercury, and organochlorine compounds in an adult female, her neonate, and a calf. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 64:333–340

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Storelli MM, Marcotrigiano GO (2002) Subcellular distribution of heavy metals in livers and kidneys of Stenella coeruleoalba and Tursiops truncatus from the Mediterranean Sea. Mar Poll Bull 44:71–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Storelli MM, Ceci E, Marcotrigiano GO (1998) Comparison of total mercury, methylmercury, and selenium in muscle tissues and in the liver of Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen) and Caretta caretta (Linnaeus). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 61:541–547

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Storelli MM, Zizzo N, Marcotrigiano GO (1999) Heavy metals and methylmercury in tissues of Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) stranded in Italy (South Adriatic Sea). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 63:703–710

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Wagemann R, Muir DCG (1984) Concentrations of heavy metals and organochlorines in marine mammals of northern waters: overview and evaluation. Can Tech Rep Fish Aqua Sci 1279:97

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nina Bilandžić.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bilandžić, N., Sedak, M., Đokić, M. et al. Toxic Element Concentrations in the Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus), Striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and Risso’s (Grampus griseus) Dolphins Stranded in Eastern Adriatic Sea. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89, 467–473 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-012-0716-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Striped dolphin
  • Risso’s dolphins
  • Toxic elements
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Muscle