|Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) breeding off Mozambique and Ecuador show geographic variation of persistent organic pollutants and isotopic niches|Remili, A.; Gallego, P.; Pinzone, M.; Castro, C.; Jauniaux, T.; Garigliany, M.-M.; Malarvannan, G.; Covaci, A.; Das, K. (2020). Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) breeding off Mozambique and Ecuador show geographic variation of persistent organic pollutants and isotopic niches. Environ. Pollut. 267: 115575. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115575
In: Environmental Pollution. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0269-7491; e-ISSN 1873-6424, more
Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781) [WoRMS]
Persistent organic pollutants; Stable isotopes; Humpback whales
|Authors|| || Top |
- Castro, C.
- Jauniaux, T., more
- Garigliany, M.-M., more
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) from the Southern Hemisphere carry information on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from their feeding zones in Antarctica to their breeding grounds, making this species a sentinel of contaminants accumulation in the Southern Ocean. This study aimed to evaluate driving factors, namely feeding areas, trophic level, and sex, affecting POP concentrations in the blubber of humpback whales breeding off Mozambique and off Ecuador. Biopsies of free-ranging humpback whales including blubber and skin were collected in 2014 and 2015 from Ecuador (n = 59) and in 2017 from Mozambique (n = 89). In both populations, HCB was the major contaminant followed by DDTs > CHLs > PCBs > HCHs > PBDEs. POP concentrations were significantly higher in males compared to females. HCB, DDTs, HCHs and PBDEs were significantly different between whales from the Mozambique population and the Ecuador population. Sex and feeding habits were important driving factors accounting for POP concentrations in Ecuador whales. The whales from our study had some of the lowest POP concentrations measured for humpback whales in the world. These whales fed predominantly on krill as reflected from the low δ13C and δ15N values measured in the skin. However, the isotopic niches of whales from Mozambique and Ecuador did not overlap indicating that the two populations are feeding in different areas of the Southern Ocean.