Organochlorine and mercury residues in the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) Academic Article uri icon


  • Samples of blubber, liver, kidney and brain, obtained from 10 male, 6 female neonatal, and 4 lactating female harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus), were analysed for DDT, dieldrin, PCB, and total mercury. Methyl mercury levels in blood were also determined. Biocide deposition was not significantly different in female and male ten day old pups. There were no significant differences in biocide levels in the liver of the 14/+ day old males, but in blubber there were significant differences in dieldrin and DDT. There was no clear relationship between biocide levels in the 6-18 year old lactating adults and their pups. Younger adult seals (6 and 7 years) were found to have higher levels of PCB and sigmaDDT levels in their blubber than did older females (10 and 18 years). Wide intraspecific variation was noted in organochlorine and mercury residue levels. Pups taken in 1973 were found to have lower organochlorine residues than pups taken in the same area in 1971. Preliminary investigation indicates that detectable amounts of organochlorine and mercury residues are capable of crossing the placenta in the harp seal.

author list (cited authors)

  • Jones, D., Ronald, K., Lavigne, D. M., Frank, R., Holdrinet, M., & Uthe, J. F.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Jones, D||Ronald, K||Lavigne, DM||Frank, R||Holdrinet, M||Uthe, JF

publication date

  • March 1976