Vertical distribution of lipids, fatty acids and organochlorine contaminants in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Waugh, Courtney A., Nichols, Peter D., Schlabach, Martin, Noad, Michael and Bengtson Nash, Susan (2014) Vertical distribution of lipids, fatty acids and organochlorine contaminants in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Marine Environmental Research, 94 24-31. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2013.11.004


Author Waugh, Courtney A.
Nichols, Peter D.
Schlabach, Martin
Noad, Michael
Bengtson Nash, Susan
Title Vertical distribution of lipids, fatty acids and organochlorine contaminants in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Formatted title
Vertical distribution of lipids, fatty acids and organochlorine contaminants in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae
Journal name Marine Environmental Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0141-1136
1879-0291
Publication date 2014
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.marenvres.2013.11.004
Open Access Status
Volume 94
Start page 24
End page 31
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as toxic lipophilic organochlorine (OC) compounds, accumulate in the blubber tissue of marine mammals. Toxicological sampling methods most frequently target only the superficial blubber layer. Vertical distribution of these contaminants through the blubber mantle may, however, not be homogenous and could reflect any dissemination of lipids and fatty acids (FAs). It is therefore critical to assess stratification patterns in a species of interest as a quality control measure for interpretation of toxicological data. Here, we analysed and compared the distribution of lipids, FAs, and OCs in the outermost and innermost blubber layer of southern hemisphere humpback whales. FA stratification was evident for short-chain (≤18) monounsaturated fatty acids (SC-MUFA), which were concentrated in the outer layer, consistent with the thermoregulatory role of this blubber layer. This stratification was, however, not reflected in OC distribution, which was similar in the inner and outer blubber layers of male humpback whales. By comparison, a noticeable gradient in total blubber lipid from the outer to the inner layer was observed in two lactating females, which coincided with higher lipid normalised contaminant levels in the inner layer. This study contains the most comprehensive assessment of humpback whale blubber stratification to date, however, further investigation of biological and ecological influencing factors is required.
Keyword Antarctica
Blubber stratification
Fatty acids
Lipids
Persistent organic pollutants
Southern hemisphere humpback whales
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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