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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Metal Levels in Whales from the Gulf of Maine: A One Environmental Health approach.

Authors: Wise Jr, John Pierce; Wise, James T F; Wise, Catherine F; Wise, Sandra S; Zhu, Cairong; Browning, Cynthia L; Zheng, Tongzhang; Perkins, Christopher; Gianios Jr, Christy; Xie, Hong; Wise Sr, John Pierce

Published In Chemosphere, (2019 Feb)

Abstract: One Environmental Health has emerged as an important area of research that considers the interconnectedness of human, animal and ecosystem health with a focus on toxicology. The great whales in the Gulf of Maine are important species for ecosystem health, for the economies of the Eastern seaboard of the United States, and as sentinels for human health. The Gulf of Maine is an area with heavy coastal development, industry, and marine traffic, all of which contribute chronic exposures to environmental chemicals that can bioaccumulate in tissues and may gradually diminish an individual whale's or a population's fitness. We biopsied whales for three seasons (2010-2012) and measured the levels of 25 metals and selenium in skin biopsies collected from three species: humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). We established baseline levels for humpback and fin whales. Comparisons with similar species from other regions indicate humpback whales have elevated levels of aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, nickel and zinc. Contextualizing the data with a One Environmental Health approach finds these levels to be of potential concern for whale health. While much remains to understand what threats these metal levels may pose to the fitness and survival of these whale populations, these data serve as a useful and pertinent start to understanding the threat of pollution.

PubMed ID: 30391886 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Animals; Ecosystem; Environmental Health*; Fin Whale/metabolism*; Humpback Whale/metabolism*; Maine; Metals/analysis*; Seasons*

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