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Trace metal accumulation in hair and skin of the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina
Wenzel, C.; Adelung, D.; Kruse, H.; Wassermann, O. (1993). Trace metal accumulation in hair and skin of the harbour seal, Phoca vitulina. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 26(3): 152-155
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Coastal waters; Heavy metals; Marine mammals; Pollutants; Selenium; Phoca vitulina Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Wenzel, C.
  • Adelung, D.
  • Kruse, H.
  • Wassermann, O.

    Skin and hair samples of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) found dead along the west coast of northern Germany in 1988 were analysed for total mercury, cadmium and lead. Cadmium and lead concentrations were below the detection limit in most skin samples. The mercury content of the hair (median: 23.1 mug g-1 wet wt) was several magnitudes higher than the mercury content of the skin (0.27 mug g-1 wet wt). Mercury concentrations in hair samples were significantly higher than lead concentrations (0.54 mug g-1 wet wt), which significantly exceeded cadmium levels (0.09 mug g-1 wet wt). Female seals revealed lower cadmium concentrations in the hair than male seals. Accumulations of metals with age were observed for cadmium and lead in hair samples and for mercury in skin samples of male seals. A connection between metal accumulation and pigmentation or rather moult was clearly recognizable.

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