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Daily Archives: 16. November 2012 − News & Stories


Mer­cu­ry in Polar bear liver

Polar bears can have high con­cen­tra­ti­ons of hea­vy metals and other long-lived envi­ron­men­tal toxins in their tis­sue. The­se toxins come from indus­try and agri­cul­tu­re in lower lati­tu­des, are trans­por­ted by air and sea curr­ents even to the remo­test parts of the Arc­tic whe­re they are taken up in the food chain, final­ly con­ta­mi­na­ting tho­se who are at its top: Polar bears and birds inclu­ding Glau­cous gulls. Con­se­quen­ces include nega­ti­ve impacts on repro­duc­ti­ve and immu­ne sys­tem and gene­ral health decli­ne.

A new stu­dy has shown dif­fe­rent levels of mer­cu­ry con­cen­tra­ti­on in Polar bear liver in dif­fe­rent parts of the Arc­tic, from Alas­ka through Cana­da to Green­land. The reason for the regio­nal dif­fe­ren­ces is belie­ved to be dif­fe­rent spe­ci­es in the lower part of the food chain: planc­ton spe­ci­es that are respon­si­ble for the incor­po­ra­ti­on of mer­cu­ry into the food chain.

The­re are no data from Spits­ber­gen, whe­re Polar bears are pro­tec­ted and Polar bear liver is accor­din­gly not available for sam­pling.

Mer­cu­ry sources include coal power plants with bad fil­ter sys­tems.

Polar bears: as if their life was not alre­a­dy dif­fi­cult enough wit­hout mer­cu­ry.

Mercury in Polar bear liver - Polar bear, Edgeøya

Source: Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te

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