Marine Environmental Monitoring

Cardigan, United Kingdom

Marine Environmental Monitoring

Cardigan, United Kingdom
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McClellan C.M.,University of Exeter | Brereton T.,Marinelife | Dell'Amico F.,Center Detudes Et Of Soins Pour Les Tortues Marines | Johns D.G.,Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The temperate waters of the North-Eastern Atlantic have a long history of maritime resource richness and, as a result, the European Union is endeavouring to maintain regional productivity and biodiversity. At the intersection of these aims lies potential conflict, signalling the need for integrated, cross-border management approaches. This paper focuses on the marine megafauna of the region. This guild of consumers was formerly abundant, but is now depleted and protected under various national and international legislative structures. We present a meta-analysis of available megafauna datasets using presence-only distribution models to characterise suitable habitat and identify spatially-important regions within the English Channel and southern bight of the North Sea. The integration of studies from dedicated and opportunistic observer programmes in the United Kingdom and France provide a valuable perspective on the spatial and seasonal distribution of various taxonomic groups, including large pelagic fishes and sharks, marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles. The Western English Channel emerged as a hotspot of biodiversity for megafauna, while species richness was low in the Eastern English Channel. Spatial conservation planning is complicated by the highly mobile nature of marine megafauna, however they are important components of the marine environment and understanding their distribution is a first crucial step toward their inclusion into marine ecosystem management. © 2014 McClellan, et al.


Jepson P.D.,UK Institute of Zoology | Deaville R.,UK Institute of Zoology | Barber J.L.,Center for Environment | Aguilar A.,University of Barcelona | And 27 more authors.
Scientific Reports | Year: 2016

Organochlorine (OC) pesticides and the more persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have well-established dose-dependent toxicities to birds, fish and mammals in experimental studies, but the actual impact of OC pollutants on European marine top predators remains unknown. Here we show that several cetacean species have very high mean blubber PCB concentrations likely to cause population declines and suppress population recovery. In a large pan-European meta-analysis of stranded (n = 929) or biopsied (n = 152) cetaceans, three out of four species:- striped dolphins (SDs), bottlenose dolphins (BNDs) and killer whales (KWs) had mean PCB levels that markedly exceeded all known marine mammal PCB toxicity thresholds. Some locations (e.g. western Mediterranean Sea, south-west Iberian Peninsula) are global PCB "hotspots" for marine mammals. Blubber PCB concentrations initially declined following a mid-1980s EU ban, but have since stabilised in UK harbour porpoises and SDs in the western Mediterranean Sea. Some small or declining populations of BNDs and KWs in the NE Atlantic were associated with low recruitment, consistent with PCB-induced reproductive toxicity. Despite regulations and mitigation measures to reduce PCB pollution, their biomagnification in marine food webs continues to cause severe impacts among cetacean top predators in European seas. © 2016, Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


PubMed | University of Barcelona, Natural History Museum in London, Coordinadora para o Estudio dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA, UK Institute of Zoology and 12 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Organochlorine (OC) pesticides and the more persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have well-established dose-dependent toxicities to birds, fish and mammals in experimental studies, but the actual impact of OC pollutants on European marine top predators remains unknown. Here we show that several cetacean species have very high mean blubber PCB concentrations likely to cause population declines and suppress population recovery. In a large pan-European meta-analysis of stranded (n=929) or biopsied (n=152) cetaceans, three out of four species:- striped dolphins (SDs), bottlenose dolphins (BNDs) and killer whales (KWs) had mean PCB levels that markedly exceeded all known marine mammal PCB toxicity thresholds. Some locations (e.g. western Mediterranean Sea, south-west Iberian Peninsula) are global PCB hotspots for marine mammals. Blubber PCB concentrations initially declined following a mid-1980s EU ban, but have since stabilised in UK harbour porpoises and SDs in the western Mediterranean Sea. Some small or declining populations of BNDs and KWs in the NE Atlantic were associated with low recruitment, consistent with PCB-induced reproductive toxicity. Despite regulations and mitigation measures to reduce PCB pollution, their biomagnification in marine food webs continues to cause severe impacts among cetacean top predators in European seas.


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.


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.


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.


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.


PubMed | UK Institute of Zoology, CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, SAC Consulting Veterinary Services and Marine Environmental Monitoring
Type: Journal Article | Journal: 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 246gkg(-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.


Jepson P.D.,UK Institute of Zoology | Deaville R.,UK Institute of Zoology | Acevedo-Whitehouse K.,Autonomous University of Queretaro | Barnett J.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Truro | And 19 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

On 9 June 2008, the UK's largest mass stranding event (MSE) of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) occurred in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall. At least 26 dolphins died, and a similar number was refloated/herded back to sea. On necropsy, all dolphins were in good nutritive status with empty stomachs and no evidence of known infectious disease or acute physical injury. Auditory tissues were grossly normal (26/26) but had microscopic haemorrhages (5/5) and mild otitis media (1/5) in the freshest cases. Five lactating adult dolphins, one immature male, and one immature female tested were free of harmful algal toxins and had low chemical pollutant levels. Pathological evidence of mud/seawater inhalation (11/26), local tide cycle, and the relative lack of renal myoglobinuria (26/26) suggested MSE onset on a rising tide between 06:30 and 08:21 hrs (9 June). Potential causes excluded or considered highly unlikely included infectious disease, gas/fat embolism, boat strike, by-catch, predator attack, foraging unusually close to shore, chemical or algal toxin exposure, abnormal weather/climatic conditions, and high-intensity acoustic inputs from seismic airgun arrays or natural sources (e.g., earthquakes). International naval exercises did occur in close proximity to the MSE with the most intense part of the exercises (including mid-frequency sonars) occurring four days before the MSE and resuming with helicopter exercises on the morning of the MSE. The MSE may therefore have been a "two-stage process" where a group of normally pelagic dolphins entered Falmouth Bay and, after 3-4 days in/around the Bay, a second acoustic/disturbance event occurred causing them to strand en masse. This spatial and temporal association with the MSE, previous associations between naval activities and cetacean MSEs, and an absence of other identifiable factors known to cause cetacean MSEs, indicates naval activity to be the most probable cause of the Falmouth Bay MSE. © 2013 Jepson et al.

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