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Persistent Organic Pollutants in Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia Mydas) Inhabiting Two Urbanized Southern California Habitats

April 01, 2020

We asses the persistent organic pollutants in green turtle populations in the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge and San Diego Bay to understand the contamination risks for these populations.

Within Southern California, east Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) forage year-round, taking advantage of diverse food resources, including seagrass, marine algae, and invertebrates. Assessing persistent organic pollutants (POP) in green turtle aggregations in the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge (SBNWR, n = 17) and San Diego Bay (SDB, n = 25) can help quantify contamination risks for these populations. Blood plasma was analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PCBs and body size explained much of the separation of turtles by foraging aggregation in a principal component analysis. Turtles from SDB had significantly (p < 0.001) higher total PCBs than SBNWR turtles. Most PCBs detected in turtles were non-dioxin-like PCB congeners (153, 138, 99) that are associated with neurotoxicity. Recaptured turtles' POP levels changed significantly over time indicating significant variation in POP levels through time and space, even among adjacent foraging locations.


Barraza AD, Komoroske LM, Allen CD, Eguchi T, Gossett R, Holland E, Lawson DD, LeRoux RA, Lorenzi V, Seminoff JA, Lowe CG. 2020. Persistent Organic Pollutants in Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) Inhabiting Two Urbanized Southern California Habitats. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 153:110979. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.110979.

 

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 12/02/2021