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Lecture 1

OCEAN 320 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Blubber, Killer Whale, Bioaccumulation

1 pages63 viewsSummer 2018

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Unit 1C: Chemical Pollution in the Ocean
PCBs in Whales (Video)
Puget Sound
o Orcas in Puget Sound are monitored as an indicator of the overall health of the
o Orcas are the top of the food chain, therefore they accumulate the most of these
o In one year, 7 orcas died; there are only 86 left in Puget Sound, making them
officially endangered in the area
o Scientists extract and analyze blubber, looking for contaminates such as PCBs;
shows that Puget Sound orcas are some of the most PCB-contaminated animals in
the world
o PCBs bioaccumulate throughout the food chain; do not break down
Orcas are not the only organisms impacted by these chemicals; their health indicates the
nature of the fish humans are consuming, and what we absorb from eating those fish
Puget Sound orca population expected to die off entirely within 20 years; so few left, that
we can track them from birth to death
Proof in mortality patterns
o Young whales are dying before they even become sexually matured
o Caused by absorption of PCBs through mother’s milk
Arctic communities most highly affected; PCBs break up less than in warmer climates
Salmon in Puget Sound areas are also most highly contaminated in pacific region
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