Trace elements in tissues of phocid seals harvested in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic: influence of age and feeding ecology Academic Article uri icon


  • Concentrations of selected trace elements (Ag, Cu, Cd, Se, Zn, THg, and MeHg) were measured in tissues of subsistence-harvested ringed (Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775)), bearded (Erignathus barbatus (Erxleben, 1777)), and spotted (Phoca largha Pallas, 1811) seals from Alaska and ringed seals from Canada. Most variables differed significantly in tissues of phocids analyzed. Concentration of renal Cd was highest in ringed seals from Canada and bearded seals from Alaska, while spotted seals had the lowest concentrations. Concentrations of Cd increased with age to a maximum in ringed and bearded seals, followed by a slow decline with increasing age. Spotted seals had the highest proportion of MeHg to THg (%MeHg) in liver and bearded seals the lowest ratio. THg in seal tissues followed the opposite trend. %MeHg in ringed and bearded seals followed a hyperbolic decay function with age, but was highly variable in spotted seals. Seals with lesions had a higher relative occurrence of MeHg in liver. The molar ratio of Se:THg in liver exceeded 1:1 in most seals and was negatively correlated with age in ringed and spotted seals. Hepatic Ag was higher in bearded seals than in ringed and spotted seals. A correlation of Ag with age was not documented.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Dehn, L. A., Sheffield, G. G., Follmann, E. H., Duffy, L. K., Thomas, D. L., Bratton, G. R., Taylor, R. J., & O'Hara, T. M.

citation count

  • 71

complete list of authors

  • Dehn, LA||Sheffield, GG||Follmann, EH||Duffy, LK||Thomas, DL||Bratton, GR||Taylor, RJ||O'Hara, TM

publication date

  • May 2005