Metal Levels in Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) from Península Valdés, Argentina
Península Valdes, Argentina, is a nursing ground for a population of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis). In the last two decades this area has been subjected to an increase in population, tourism and industrial growth. This has raised the concern for exposure to chemical contaminants such as metals. In this study we measured nonessential metals (Ag, Al, As, Au, Ba, Be, Co, Cd, Cr, Hg, Li, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sn, Sr, U and Ti), essential metals (Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo and Zn) and an essential element (Se) in skin biopsies from female southern right whales (n=10). This is the first report on tissue concentrations of metals in adult southern right whales. Overall, tissue values were on the low end of the spectrum and similar to the values reported in studies of mysticetes from other regions. Measured values do not reflect substantial amounts of accumulation and thus serve as a baseline.