Author(s): Monaci F, Borrel A, Leonzio C, Marsili L, Calzada N
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Abstract Tissues obtained from Stenella coeruleoalba stranded along the Spanish and Italian Mediterranean coasts from 1987 to 1994 were analysed for cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). The age, length and weight of the dolphins were recorded. Hg levels were also assayed in skin biopsies from dolphins of the same species in the waters off northeastern Spain and in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas. Levels of all elements differed in muscle of stranded dolphins from the two areas. Hg was higher in tissues from animals stranded on the Italian coasts and in skin biopsies obtained in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas, than in the respective Spanish samples. This is probably related to Hg pollution from the natural weathering of cinnabar ores in central Italy. Se and Cd levels had similar accumulation patterns to those of Hg. Accumulation of Hg and Se is explained by the existence of a detoxification pathway involving both elements, however the reason for the similar Cd trend is unclear. Geographical differences in the accumulation pattern of these elements may reflect the existence of two different populations of Stenella coeruleoalba in the western Mediterranean.
This article was published in Environ Pollut
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species