An evaluation of teeth of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) from Greenland as a matrix to monitor spatial and temporal trends of mercury and stable isotopes.

Abstract : Total mercury (Hg) concentrations were measured in teeth of ringed seals from Qeqertarsuaq, central West Greenland (1982 to 2006) and Ittoqqortoormiit, central East Greenland (1986 to 2006). Stable isotopic ratios of carbon (13C/12C) and nitrogen (15N/14N) were determined as well to provide insights into diet variations between regions or through time. Mercury concentrations decreased the first years of life of the animals suggesting that Hg had been transferred from the mother to the foetus and newborn. The Hg concentrations in teeth were significantly lesser in ringed seals from central West Greenland compared to those from central East Greenland. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic values measured in the animals differed also significantly between the two regions. Increasing temporal trends of dental Hg concentrations between 1994 and 2006 were observed in ringed seals from both central West Greenland and central East Greenland. These increases were attributed to global changes in environmental Hg levels since no temporal trends in δ15N values were found to support the hypothesis of a diet shift over time. Furthermore, a decreasing temporal trend in δ13C values was observed in the teeth of seals from central East Greenland, and explained by a likely change over time towards more pelagic feeding habits; alternatively, the so-known Seuss effect was thought to be responsible for this decrease. Finally it was concluded that the tooth of ringed seal was a good monitoring tissue to assess Hg trends.
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Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2010, 408, pp.5137-5146. 〈10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.07.038〉
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Aurore Aubail, Rune Dietz, Frank Rigét, Benoit Simon-Bouhet, Florence Caurant. An evaluation of teeth of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) from Greenland as a matrix to monitor spatial and temporal trends of mercury and stable isotopes.. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2010, 408, pp.5137-5146. 〈10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.07.038〉. 〈hal-00610710〉

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