Temporal variability in organochlorine contamination in blood and blubber of captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

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Abstract

Three adult captive Steller sea lions (SSL; two females, one male) housed in Alaska were longitudinally sampled for organochlorine contaminant (OC) analysis in both blubber (n= 19) and blood (n= 69) over a 2 yr period (March 2001 to March 2003). Blood OC concentrations were similar between individuals, and exhibited significant increases in summer months (July through September) relative to winter (January through March). Additionally, paired blood and blubber sample (n= 18) OC were significantly related for all animals. The relationship of blubber OC concentrations to lipid content was significant in all animals. Although limited to a small number of animals, our study results indicate that in SSLs, blood OC were both consistent among all animals and likely changed in association with physiologically driven metabolism of blubber.

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