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Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) Accumulate Heavy Metals Near a Former Skeet Shooting Range in Kailua, O'ahu, Hawai'i

March 03, 2023

Determining levels of arsenic and antimony concentrations in green sea turtles resulting from lead deposition at a historic skeet shooting range. 

The present study determined if green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Kailua Bay, Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands have elevated blood and scute lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and antimony (Sb) concentrations resulting from lead deposition at a historic skeet shooting range. 

Compared with other green turtle populations, only turtles in Oman, Brazil, and San Diego, CA have blood Pb concentrations greater than turtles in Kailua Bay. The estimated daily exposure of Pb from algae sources in Kailua Bay (0.12 mg/kg/day) was significantly lower than the no observed adverse effect level (100 mg/kg) of red-eared slider turtles

However, the chronic effects of Pb on sea turtles is poorly understood and continued monitoring of this population will increase our understanding of the Pb and As loads of sea turtles in Kailua Bay. 

Shaw KR, Balazs GH, Jones TT, Lynch HW, Liu J, Cobb GP, Klein DM, Lynch JM 2023. Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) accumulate heavy metals near a former skeet shooting range in Kailua, O'ahu, Hawai'i Environmental Toxicology. 42,5: 1109-1123.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 10/23/2023