Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Predicting the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls on cetacean populations through impacts on immunity and calf survival

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Ailsa J. Hall, Bernie J. McConnell, Lori H. Schwacke, Gina M. Ylitalo, Rob Williams, Teri K. Rowles

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The potential impact of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the health and survival of cetaceans continues to be an issue for conservation and management, yet few quantitative approaches for estimating population level effects have been developed. An individual based model (IBM) for assessing effects on both calf survival and immunity was developed and tested. Three case study species (bottlenose dolphin, humpback whale and killer whale) in four populations were taken as examples and the impact of varying levels of PCB uptake on achievable population growth was assessed. The unique aspect of the model is its ability to evaluate likely effects of immunosuppression in addition to calf survival, enabling consequences of PCB exposure on immune function on all age-classes to be explored. By incorporating quantitative tissue concentration-response functions from laboratory animal model species into an IBM framework, population trajectories were generated. Model outputs included estimated concentrations of PCBs in the blubber of females by age, which were then compared to published empirical data. Achievable population growth rates were more affected by the inclusion of effects of PCBs on immunity than on calf survival, but the magnitude depended on the virulence of any subsequent encounter with a pathogen and the proportion of the population exposed. Since the starting population parameters were from historic studies, which may already be impacted by PCBs, the results should be interpreted on a relative rather than an absolute basis. The framework will assist in providing quantitative risk assessments for populations of concern.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-418
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume233
Early online date5 Nov 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Individual based model , Risk assessment, Marine mammal, Contaminants

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Predicting global killer whale population collapse from PCB pollution

    Desforges, J-P., Hall, A., McConnell, B., Rosing-Asvid, A., Barber, J. L., Brownlow, A., De Guise, S., Eulaers, I., Jepson, P. D., Letcher, R. J., Levin, M., Ross, P. S., Samarra, F., Vikingson, G., Sonne, C. & Dietz, R. 28 Sep 2018 In : Science. 361, 6409, p. 1373-1376 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Harbour Seal Decline – vital rates and drivers. Report to Scottish Government HSD2.

    Arso Civil, M., Smout, S. C., Thompson, D., Brownlow, A., Davison, N., Doeschate, M., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Cummings, C., McConnell, B. J. & Hall, A. J. 2017 Sea Mammal Research Unit. 35 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  3. 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 journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Spatial variability in total and organic mercury levels in Antarctic krill Euphausia superba across the Scotia Sea

    Seco, J., Xavier, J. C., Coelho, J. P., Pereira, B., Tarling, G., Pardal, M. A., Bustamante, P., Stowasser, G., Brierley, A. S. & Pereira, M. E. 14 Jan 2019 In : Environmental Pollution. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Relationships between vitamin A and PCBs in grey seal mothers and pups during lactation

    Vanden Berghe, M., Mat, A., Arriola, A., Polain, S., Stekke, V., Thome, J-P., Gaspart, F., Pomeroy, P., Larondelle, Y. & Debier, C. May 2010 In : Environmental Pollution. 158, 5, p. 1570-1575 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants in female common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from western European seas: consequences for reproduction, geographical trends and effects of age, maturation and diet

    Pierce, G. J. , Santos, M. B. , Murphy, S. N. , Learmonth, J. A. , Zuur, A. F. , Rogan, E. , Bustamante, P. , Caurant, F. , Lahaye, V. , Ridoux, V. , Zegers, B. N. , Mets, A. , Addink, M. , Smeenk, C. , Jauniaux, T. , Law, R. J. , Dabin, W. , López, A. , Alonso Farré, J. M. , González, A. F. & 6 others Guerra, A., García-Hartmann, M., Reid, R. J., Moffat, C. F., Lockyer, C. & Boon, J. P. May 2008 In : Environmental Pollution. 153, p. 401-415 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Changes in persistent contaminant concentration and CYP1A1 protein expression in biopsy samples from northern bottlenose whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, following the onset of nearby oil and gas development

    Hooker, S. K., Metcalfe, T. L., Metcalfe, C. D., Angell, C. M., Wilson, J. Y., Moore, M. J. & Whitehead, H. Mar 2008 In : Environmental Pollution. 152, 1, p. 205-216 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 251475991