Quantification of total mercury in liver and heart tissue of Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) from Alaska USA
This study quantified the Hg levels in the liver (n=98) and heart (n=43) tissues of Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) (n=102) harvested from Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island Alaska. Mercury tissue dry weight (dw) concentrations in the liver ranged from 1.7 to 393 ppm. dw, and in the heart from 0.19 to 4.99 ppm. dw. Results of this study indicate liver and heart tissues' Hg ppm dw concentrations significantly increase with age. Male Harbor Seals bioaccumulated Hg in both their liver and heart tissues at a significantly faster rate than females. The liver Hg bioaccumulation rates between the harvest locations Kodiak Island and Prince William Sound were not found to be significantly different. On adsorption Hg is transported throughout the Harbor Seal's body with the partition coefficient higher for the liver than the heart. No significant differences in the bio-distribution (liver:heart Hg ppm dw ratios (n=38)) values were found with respect to either age, sex or geographic harvest location. In this study the age at which Hg liver and heart bioaccumulation levels become significantly distinct in male and female Harbor Seals were identified through a Tukey's analysis. Of notably concern to human health was a male Harbor Seal's liver tissue harvested from Kodiak Island region. Mercury accumulation in this sample tissue was determined through a Q-test to be an outlier, having far higher Hg concentrarion (liver 392. Hg. ppm. dw) than the general population sampled. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
Marino, K., Hoover-Miller, A., Conlon, S., Prewitt, J., & O'Shea, S. (2011). Quantification of total mercury in liver and heart tissue of Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) from Alaska USA. Environmental Research, 111 (8), 1107-1115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2011.07.010