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Issue 1, 2012
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Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue

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Abstract

We examined the use of mercury (Hg) and nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes in teeth of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard as biotracers of temporal changes in Hg pollution exposure between 1964 and 2003. Teeth were regarded as a good matrix of the Hg exposure, and in total 87 teeth of polar bears were analysed. Dental Hg levels ranged from 0.6 to 72.3 ng g−1 dry weight and increased with age during the first 10 years of life. A decreasing time trend in Hg concentrations was observed over the recent four decades while no temporal changes were found in the stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C). This suggests that the decrease of Hg concentrations over time was more likely due to a lower environmental Hg exposure in this region rather than a shift in the feeding habits of Svalbard polar bears.

Graphical abstract: Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue

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Article information


Submitted
19 Aug 2011
Accepted
18 Oct 2011
First published
24 Nov 2011

J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 56-63
Article type
Paper

Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue

A. Aubail, R. Dietz, F. Rigét, C. Sonne, Ø. Wiig and F. Caurant, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 56
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10681C

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