Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Killer Whales Metabolize Contaminants, Yet Still Show Record-High Contamination Levels

Date:
July 23, 2007
Source:
Allen Press
Summary:
Killer whales hold the gloomy record of being the most-polluted European arctic mammal, says a new study published in the latest issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Levels of contaminants measured in whales near Norway were among the highest ever measured in marine mammals, exceeding levels found in harbor seals, polar bears, and white whales.

Killer whales hold the gloomy record of being the most-polluted European arctic mammal, says a new study published in the latest issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Levels of contaminants measured in whales near Norway were among the highest ever measured in marine mammals, exceeding levels found in harbor seals, polar bears, and white whales.

Related Articles


Killer whales are widely distributed marine mammals capable of surviving on a variety of foods. In this study, blubber samples were taken, using a dart gun, from eight live, free-ranging whales. Contamination levels were six to 20 times higher in killer whales compared to other high-Arctic species, such as white whales.

Very high levels of halogenated organic contaminants (HOCs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides were found in the tissues of killer whales, apparently due to their high concentration in the whales’ primary diet source, herring.

Despite the ban on most PCBs, toxaphene, and DDT, these compounds pose a continuing threat to the health of humans and marine organisms. New HOCs, such as the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are used as flame retardants, continue to be released into the environment.

Organisms are particularly vulnerable to HOCs in the marine environment. Because of the low water solubility of these compounds, exposure through the food web leads to the highest concentrations in marine mammals. Several studies have demonstrated adverse effects on the endocrine and immune systems of some marine mammals.

While most HOCs are considered to be poorly metabolized, killer whales in this study had lower levels of certain PCBs, pesticides (chlordane, DDE), toxaphene, and PBDEs than expected, suggesting an ability to metabolize them. This was unexpected, because other marine mammals, such as dolphins and white whales, show a much lower ability to metabolize HOCs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Allen Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Allen Press. "Killer Whales Metabolize Contaminants, Yet Still Show Record-High Contamination Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721223714.htm>.
Allen Press. (2007, July 23). Killer Whales Metabolize Contaminants, Yet Still Show Record-High Contamination Levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721223714.htm
Allen Press. "Killer Whales Metabolize Contaminants, Yet Still Show Record-High Contamination Levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721223714.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Newsy (Mar. 25, 2015) The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff&apos;s Office discovered two elephants keeping a tractor-trailer that had gotten stuck in some mud upright on a highway. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Buti, a baby orangutan who was left malnourished in a chicken cage before his rescue, takes his first steps after months of painful physical therapy. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins