Concentrations and interactions of selected essential and non-essential elements in ringed seals and polar bears of arctic Alaska

Victoria M. Woshner, Todd M. O'Hara, Gerald R. Bratton, Val R. Beasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we evaluated concentrations of twelve essential and non-essential elements (As, Cd, Co, Cu, Pb, Mg, Mn, Hg, Mo, Se, Ag, and Zn) in tissues of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of arctic Alaska (USA). All samples were collected between 1995-97 in conjunction with subsistence harvests. The essential elements are reported to help develop reference ranges for health status determination and to help assess known or suspected interactions affecting toxicoses of cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg). In some tissues, Cd, Hg, and selenium (Se) were present at concentrations that have been associated with toxicoses in some domestic animals. Nevertheless, tissue levels of all elements were within ranges that have been reported previously in other pinnipeds and polar bears. Significant associations included: Cd with Zn or Cu; Cu with Zn or Ag; and Hg with Se, Zn, or Cu. This study found hepatic Hg: Se molar ratios to be lower than unity and different between the two species. Based upon significant differences in mean tissue elemental concentrations for polar bear versus ringed seal, we concluded that biomagnification factors (bear/seal) were significant for: Cu in liver and muscle; Pb in kidney; Se in kidney and muscle; Zn in liver and muscle; and Hg in liver. Possible explanations for observed elemental correlations (i.e., interactions) and ancillary mechanisms of Cd and Hg detoxification are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-721
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Concentrations and interactions of selected essential and non-essential elements in ringed seals and polar bears of arctic Alaska'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this