Mercury correlations among blood, muscle, and hair of northern elephant seals during the breeding and molting fasts

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mercury (Hg) biomonitoring and toxicological risk assessments for marine mammals commonly sample different tissues, making comparisons to toxicity benchmarks and among species and regions difficult. Few studies have examined how life history events, such as fasting, influence the relationship between total Hg (THg) concentrations in different tissues. We evaluated the relationships between THg concentrations in blood, muscle, and hair of female and male northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at the start and end of the breeding and molting fasts. The relationships between tissues varied among tissue pairs and differed by sampling period and sex. Blood and muscle were generally related at all time periods; however, hair, an inert tissue, did not strongly represent the metabolically active tissues (blood and muscle) at all times of year. The strongest relationships between THg concentrations in hair and those in blood or muscle were observed during periods of active hair growth (end of the molting period) or during time periods when internal body conditions were similar to those when the hair was grown (end of the breeding fast). Our results indicate that THg concentrations in blood or muscle can be translated to the other tissue type using the equations we developed, but that THg concentrations in hair were generally a poor index of internal THg concentrations except during the end of fasting periods.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury correlations among blood, muscle, and hair of northern elephant seals during the breeding and molting fasts
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.3365
Volume 35
Issue 8
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 8 p.
First page 2103
Last page 2110
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Ano Nuevo State Reserve
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N