Trace elements in tissues of phocid seals harvested in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic: influence of age and feeding ecology

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Abstract:

Concentrations of selected trace elements (Ag, Cu, Cd, Se, Zn, THg, and MeHg) were measured in tissues of subsistence-harvested ringed (Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775)), bearded (Erignathus barbatus (Erxleben, 1777)), and spotted (Phoca largha Pallas, 1811) seals from Alaska and ringed seals from Canada. Most variables differed significantly in tissues of phocids analyzed. Concentration of renal Cd was highest in ringed seals from Canada and bearded seals from Alaska, while spotted seals had the lowest concentrations. Concentrations of Cd increased with age to a maximum in ringed and bearded seals, followed by a slow decline with increasing age. Spotted seals had the highest proportion of MeHg to THg (%MeHg) in liver and bearded seals the lowest ratio. THg in seal tissues followed the opposite trend. %MeHg in ringed and bearded seals followed a hyperbolic decay function with age, but was highly variable in spotted seals. Seals with lesions had a higher relative occurrence of MeHg in liver. The molar ratio of Se:THg in liver exceeded 1:1 in most seals and was negatively correlated with age in ringed and spotted seals. Hepatic Ag was higher in bearded seals than in ringed and spotted seals. A correlation of Ag with age was not documented.

Nous avons dosé des métaux en traces sélectionnés (Ag, Cu, Cd, Se, Zn, THg et MeHg) dans les tissus de phoques marbrés (Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775)), de phoques barbus (Erignathus barbatus (Erxleben, 1777)) et de phoques tachetés (Phoca largha Pallas, 1811) en Alaska et de phoques marbrés du Canada, tous récoltés à des fins de subsistance. La plupart des variables diffèrent significativement dans les tissus des phocidés analysés. Les concentrations de Cd rénal sont maximales chez les phoques marbrés du Canada et les phoques barbus d'Alaska et minimales chez les phoques tachetés. Chez les phoques marbrés et barbus, les concentrations de Cd augmentent avec l'âge jusqu'à un maximum, pour ensuite décliner lentement aux âges supérieurs. Les phoques tachetés ont le rapport le plus élevé de MeHg sur THg (% de MeHg) dans le foie et les phoques barbus le rapport le plus bas; le THg dans les tissus de phoques suit la tendance inverse. Chez les phoques marbrés et barbus, le % de MeHg suit une fonction hyperbolique de dégradation en fonction de l'âge, alors qu'il est très variable chez les phoques tachetés. Les phoques qui portent des lésions ont une teneur relative plus grande de MeHg dans le foie. Le rapport molaire de Se : THg dans le foie dépasse 1 : 1 chez la plupart des phoques et il est en corrélation négative avec l'âge chez les phoques marbrés et tachetés. La concentration d'Ag hépatique est plus élevée chez les phoques barbus que chez les phoques marbrés et tachetés. Il n'y a pas d'indication d'une corrélation entre Ag et l'âge.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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