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Papachlimitzou A.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Barber J.L.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Losada S.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Bersuder P.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | And 6 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

A suite of twenty organophosphorus flame retardant compounds have been determined in blubber and liver tissue of twenty harbour porpoises stranded or bycaught in the UK during 2012 in order to establish current levels of contamination. Fourteen of the twenty compounds were below the limits of quantification in all samples. Six could be quantified at maximum concentrations (in blubber) between 6.7 and 246μgkg-1 wet weight. These levels do not suggest a high level of concern regarding potential impacts and do not indicate that routine monitoring in UK porpoises is warranted at this time. © 2015.


Law R.J.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Bolam T.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | James D.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Barry J.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | And 4 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

Liver butyltin concentrations (monobutyl, dibutyl and tributyltin (TBT)) in harbour porpoises (n= 410) have been determined during 1992-2005, and again in 2009 following a ban on the use of tributyltin-based antifouling paints on ships. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of the regulation, which was implemented during 2003-2008. Since the ban was put in place summed butyltin concentrations have declined. Also, the percentage of animals in which TBT was detected has fallen sharply, indicating the cessation of fresh inputs. In 1992, 1993 and 1995, TBT was detected in 100% of samples analysed. In 2003-2005, once the implementation of the ban had begun, this fell to 61-72%, and in 2009, following the completion of the ban, had reduced to 4.3% (i.e. in only 1 of 23 samples analysed). Thus we conclude that the ban has proved effective in reducing TBT inputs to the seas from vessels. © 2012.


Law R.J.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Losada S.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Barber J.L.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Bersuder P.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | And 4 more authors.
Environment International | Year: 2013

Thirty alternative flame retardant compounds and a suite of 17 brominated diphenyl ether (BDE) congeners were determined in the blubber of 21 harbour porpoises stranded or bycaught around UK coasts during 2008 using GC-MS/MS. Of the 30 compounds, 19 were not detected. Of the remaining 11 compounds, some fell below the lowest calibration level and so were recorded as less than values, but were certainly present in the blubber samples (examples include tetrabromo-p-xylene (TBX), tetrabromo-o-chlorotoluene (TBCT) and 2,3-dibromopropyl-2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (TBP-DBPE). Concentrations were low, the highest concentration being only 35μgkg-1 wet weight. This contrasted with those of the BDEs, summed concentrations which ranged from 54.6 to 913μgkg-1 wet weight, although levels in porpoise blubber have been declining since 1998. Both Dechlorane Plus (DDC-CO) isomers were detected in some samples, suggesting either that this product has been used in the UK or that its presence may result from atmospheric transport from source regions. BDE183, a marker for the octa-mix PBDE product, was found at low concentrations (0.63 to 1.7μgkg-1 wet weight) and the four nona- and deca-BDE congeners were not detected in any sample. © 2013.


Murphy S.,UK Institute of Zoology | Barber J.L.,Center for Environment | Learmonth J.A.,University of Aberdeen | Read F.L.,University of Aberdeen | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Reproductive failure in mammals due to exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can occur either through endocrine disrupting effects or via immunosuppression and increased disease risk. To investigate further, full necropsies and determination of summed 25 polychlorinated biphenyls congeners (ΣPCBs lipid weight) in blubber were undertaken on 329 UK-stranded female harbour porpoises (1990-2012). In sexually mature females, 25/127 (19.7%) showed direct evidence of reproductive failure (foetal death, aborting, dystocia or stillbirth). A further 21/127 (16.5%) had infections of the reproductive tract or tumours of reproductive tract tissues that could contribute to reproductive failure. Resting mature females (non-lactating or non-pregnant) had significantly higher mean ΣPCBs (18.5 mg/kg) than both lactating (7.5 mg/kg) and pregnant females (6 mg/kg), though not significantly different to sexually immature females (14.0 mg/kg). Using multinomial logistic regression models ΣPCBs was found to be a significant predictor of mature female reproductive status, adjusting for the effects of confounding variables. Resting females were more likely to have a higher PCB burden. Health status (proxied by "trauma" or "infectious disease" causes of death) was also a significant predictor, with lactating females (i.e. who successfully reproduced) more likely to be in good health status compared to other individuals. Based on contaminant profiles (>11 mg/kg lipid), at least 29/60 (48%) of resting females had not offloaded their pollutant burden via gestation and primarily lactation. Where data were available, these non-offloading females were previously gravid, which suggests foetal or newborn mortality. Furthermore, a lower pregnancy rate of 50% was estimated for "healthy" females that died of traumatic causes of death, compared to other populations. Whether or not PCBs are part of an underlying mechanism, we used individual PCB burdens to show further evidence of reproductive failure in the North-east Atlantic harbour porpoise population, results that should inform conservation management. © 2015 Murphy et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Yap X.,UK Institute of Zoology | Deaville R.,UK Institute of Zoology | Perkins M.W.,UK Institute of Zoology | Penrose R.,Marine Environmental Monitoring | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

The associations between polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exposure and involution of lymphoid tissue and development of epithelial-lined cysts in the thymus of UK-stranded harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) (n=170) were tested. Percentage of thymic lymphoid tissue (%TLT) was histologically quantified. Multiple regression analyses (n=169) demonstrated significant positive correlation between %TLT and nutritional status (p<0.001) and significant negative association between %TLT and onset of sexual maturity (p<0.001). However, in a subgroup of porpoises with total PCB levels above a proposed threshold of toxicity (>17. mg/kg lipid weight) (n=109), the negative association between %TLT (as dependent variable) and summed blubber concentrations of 25 chlorobiphenyl congeners (∑25CBs) remained significant (p<0.01) along with nutritional status (p<0.001) and onset of sexual maturity (p<0.001). These results suggest PCB-induced immuno suppression may be occurring in harbour porpoises in UK waters but only at concentrations that exceed proposed toxicity thresholds for marine mammals. In contrast, development of thymic cysts appears predominantly age-related. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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