Exposure to heavy metals and infectious disease mortality in harbour porpoises from England and Wales

Bennett, Peter M. and Jepson, Paul D. and Law, Robin J. and Jones, B.R. and Kuiken, T. and Baker, John R. and Rogan, E. and Kirkwood, J.K. (2001) Exposure to heavy metals and infectious disease mortality in harbour porpoises from England and Wales. Environmental Pollution, 112 (1). pp. 33-40. ISSN 0269-7491. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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We investigate whether long-term exposure to heavy metals, including immunosuppressive metals like mercury (Hg), is associated with infections disease in a wild cetacean. Post-mortem investigations on 86 harbour porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, found dead along the coasts of England and Wales revealed that 49 of the porpoises were healthy when they died as a consequence of physical trauma (most frequently entrapment in fishing gear). In contrast, 37 porpoises died of infectious diseases caused by parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens (most frequently pneumonia caused by lungworm and bacterial infections). We found that mean liver concentrations of Hg, selenium (Se), the Hg:Se molar ratio, and zinc (Zn) were significantly higher in the porpoises that died of infections disease compared to healthy porpoises that died from physical trauma. Liver concentrations of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu) and chromium (Cr) did not differ between the two groups. Hg, Se, and the Hg:Se molar ratio were also positively correlated with age. The association between Zn concentration and disease status may result from Zn redistribution in response to infection. Further work is required to evaluate whether chronic exposure to Hg may have presented a toxic challenge to the porpoises that succumbed to infections disease. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 389QH Times Cited: 33 Cited Reference Count: 38
Uncontrolled keywords: infectious disease mortality; heavy metals; mercury; selenium; harbour porpoise mercury selenium harbour porpoise ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS PHOCOENA-PHOCOENA TRACE-METALS MERCURY SELENIUM TISSUES WATERS METALLOTHIONEIN CETACEANS DOLPHINS
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: C.G.W.G. van-de-Benderskum
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2008 20:09
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2014 15:02
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/7505 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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