My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our new publication:
Peterson, S.H., J.T. Ackerman, D.E. Crocker, D.P. Costa. 2018. Foraging and
fasting can influence contaminant concentrations in animals: an example
with mercury contamination in a free-ranging marine mammal. Proceedings of
the Royal Society B. 285 20172782 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2782
Large fluctuations in animal body mass in relation to life-history events
can influence contaminant concentrations and toxicological risk. We
quantified mercury concentrations in adult northern elephant seals (*Mirounga
angustirostris*) before and after lengthy at sea foraging trips (*n* = 89)
or fasting periods on land (*n* = 27), and showed that mercury
concentrations in blood and muscle changed in response to these events. The
highest blood mercury concentrations were observed after the breeding fast,
whereas the highest muscle mercury concentrations were observed when seals
returned to land to moult. Mean female blood mercury concentrations
decreased by 30% across each of the two annual foraging trips,
demonstrating a foraging-associated dilution of mercury concentrations as
seals gained mass. Blood mercury concentrations increased by 103% and 24%
across the breeding and moulting fasts, respectively, demonstrating a
fasting-associated concentration of mercury as seals lost mass. In contrast
to blood, mercury concentrations in female's muscle increased by 19% during
the post-breeding foraging trip and did not change during the post-moulting
foraging trip. While fasting, female muscle mercury concentrations
increased 26% during breeding, but decreased 14% during moulting.
Consequently, regardless of exposure, an animal's contaminant concentration
can be markedly influenced by their annual life-history events.
If you have access, the paper is available here: http://rspb.
If you do not have access, please let me know if you would like a copy of
the paper and I will send it along with the supplementary materials.
Best regards, Sarah
Sarah Peterson, PhD
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