Total mercury body burden in Pacific harbor seal, Phoca vitulina richardii, pups from central California. Academic Article uri icon


  • To determine body and tissue compartment-specific burdens (mg) of total mercury (THg), tissues were weighed and analyzed for THg concentration (microg/g fw) in Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii) pups from central California in 2006. THg concentrations were related as follows: hair >> liver = kidney = pelt > muscle > other = heart > brain > blubber > bone. THg burden, however, was related as: pelt = muscle > liver = other > kidney = blubber > brain = heart > bone. THg concentration and burden in muscle were strongly associated with delta(15)N. delta(13)C and delta(15)N values were significantly greater in muscle than liver, and delta(13)C was significantly lesser the longer animals were in rehabilitation. Because THg concentration and burden in muscle correlated most significantly with other tissue compartments, we recommend that muscle from the specific sites we sampled be used instead of liver or hair for biomonitoring THg in harbor seals. Assessment of proportional THg burdens within each tissue compartment for harbor seals pups included use of a conceptual model, allowing for more complete visual characterization of THg body burden.

published proceedings

  • Mar Pollut Bull

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Brookens, T. J., O'Hara, T. M., Taylor, R. J., Bratton, G. R., & Harvey, J. T.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Brookens, Tiffini J||O'Hara, Todd M||Taylor, Robert J||Bratton, Gerald R||Harvey, James T

publication date

  • December 2007