Monitoring PCBs in polar bears: lessons learned from Svalbard

This paper reports on the state of contaminant monitoring of polar bears in the Norwegian Arctic and provides recommendations for future monitoring programmes

Espen O. Henriksen; Øystein Wiig; Janneche Utne Skaare; Geir Wing Gabrielsen; Andrew E. Derocher

2002

Scholarcy highlights

  • Monitoring pollutants in the biota of the Arctic is a high priority activity of the circumpolar Arctic nations
  • Polar bears are one species that have been selected for monitoring, owing to their high trophic position in the Arctic marine ecosystem and high contaminant levels
  • Considerable research has been directed at understanding the effects of pollutants, and these effects are tied to temporal trends in pollutant levels
  • This paper reports on the state of contaminant monitoring of polar bears in the Norwegian Arctic and provides recommendations for future monitoring programmes
  • PCB-153 decreased significantly in plasma collected from polar bears sampled at Svalbard during the 1990s
  • Future monitoring efforts should sample annually at the same location, at the same time of year and analyse 10–25 samples per year

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