Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Investigating decadal changes in persistent organic pollutants in Scottish grey seal pups

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Kelly J. Robinson, Ailsa J. Hall, Georges Scholl, Cathy Debier, Jean-Pierre Thomé, Gauthier Eppe, Catherine Adam, Kimberley A. Bennett

School/Research organisations

Abstract

1. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) remain a risk to marine ecosystem health. POPs accumulate in fat tissue and are biomagnified up through food webs, generating high concentrations in apex predators, including marine mammals. Seals are thus often cited as sentinels of marine environment POP levels. Measuring changes across decadal timescales in these animals is key to understanding the effectiveness of regulations controlling POPs, predicting health, population, and ecosystem level impacts, and informing conservation and management strategies. Information on recent changes in legacy POPs in seals is relatively sparse, however, and datasets are not always continuous in the absence of dedicated POP monitoring programmes.
2. Here, POP concentrations in the blubber of weaned grey seal pups from the Isle of May, Scotland, were compared between studies investigating POP impacts on survival and energy balance in 2002, and in 2015–17. By 2017, the total dioxin‐like polychlorinated biphenyls (ΣDL‐CBs) and the total non‐dioxin‐like polychlorinated biphenyls (ΣNDL‐CBs) had decreased to ~75% of 2002 levels.
3. The organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), dichlorodiphenyltrichoroethane (ΣDDT), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and dichlorodiphenyldichoroethane (DDD), and some CB congeners, did not fall over the 15‐year period; however, the power to detect small changes at low concentrations was limited.
4. High DDE and a lack of change in DDD are likely to reflect the low excretion of DDT metabolites, rather than recent exposure.
5. The limited change in many POPs over 15 years suggest that risks remain for energy balance, endocrine status, and immune function in grey seal pups, with contingent effects on conservation and management objectives for this species.These data highlight the need for long‐term datasets and parity in sampling and analytical methods to evaluate continuing impacts of POPs in grey seals and on marine ecosystems more widely.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-100
Number of pages15
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume29
Issue numberS1
Early online date6 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Coastal, Mammals, Ocean, Physiology, Pollution

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Predicting consequences of POP-induced disruption of blubber glucose uptake, mass gain rate and thyroid hormone levels for weaning mass in grey seal pups

    Bennett, K. A., Robinson, K. J., Armstrong, H. C., Moss, S. E. W., Scholl, G., Tranganida, A., Eppe, G., Thomé, J-P., Debier, C. & Hall, A. J., Jul 2021, In: Environment International . 152, 14 p., 106506.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Persistent organic pollutant burden, experimental POP exposure, and tissue properties affect metabolic profiles of blubber from gray seal pups

    Robinson, K. J., Hall, A. J., Debier, C., Eppe, G., Thomé, J. P. & Bennett, K. A., 20 Nov 2018, In: Environmental Science and Technology. 52, 22, p. 13523-13534

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Using blubber explants to investigate adipose function in grey seals: glycolytic, lipolytic and gene expression responses to glucose and hydrocortisone

    Bennett, K. A., Robinson, K. J., Moss, S. E. W., Millward, S. & Hall, A. J., 10 Aug 2017, In: Scientific Reports. 7, 11 p., 7731.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Minding the data-gap trap: exploring dynamics of abundant dolphin populations under uncertainty

    Ashe, E., Williams, R., Clark, C., Erbe, C., Gerber, L. R., Hall, A. J., Hammond, P. S., Lacy, R. C., Reeves, R. & Vollmer, N. L., 18 Feb 2021, In: Frontiers in Marine Science. 8, 10 p., 606932.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Unlocking the role of a genital herpesvirus, otarine herpesvirus 1, in California sea lion cervical cancer

    Deming, A. C., Wellehan, J. F. X., Colegrove, K. M., Hall, A., Luff, J., Lowenstine, L., Duignan, P., Cortés-Hinojosa, G. & Gulland, F. M. D., 13 Feb 2021, In: Animals. 11, 2, 17 p., 491.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (Journal)

    Monica Arso Civil (Reviewer)

    Jul 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Occurence of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the Gulf of Trieste and the northern Adriatic Sea

    Genov, T., Kotnjek, P. & Centrih, T., 12 Aug 2020, In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Early View, 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Return to sender: the influence of larval behaviour on the distribution and settlement of the European oyster Ostrea edulis

    Rodriguez-Perez, A., Sanderson, W. G., Møller, L. F., Henry, T. B. & James, M., 12 Nov 2020, In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 30, 11, p. 2116-2132 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Age–length relationships in UK harbour seals during a period of population decline

    Hall, A. J., Mackey, B., Kershaw, J. L. & Thompson, P., 6 Sep 2019, In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 61-70 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Assessing cetacean body condition: is total lipid content in blubber biopsies a useful monitoring tool?

    Kershaw, J. L., Brownlow, A., Ramp, C. A., Miller, P. J. O. & Hall, A. J., 6 Sep 2019, In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 271-282 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Automated detection and tracking of marine mammals: a novel sonar tool for monitoring effects of marine industry

    Hastie, G. D., Wu, G-M., Moss, S., Jepp, P., MacAulay, J. D. J., Lee, A., Sparling, C. E., Evers, C. H. M. & Gillespie, D. M., 6 Sep 2019, In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 119-130

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 261126614

Top