Levels of trace elements, methylmercury and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in foraging green turtles in the South China region and their conservation implications

Connie Ka Yan NG, Chung Wah James LAM, Xiaohua ZHANG, He Xiang GU, Tsung Hsien LI, Min Bin YE, Zhong Rong XIA, Fei Yan ZHANG, Jin Xia DUAN, Wen Xiong WANG, Isaac Kam Sum LAM, George H. BALAZS, Paul Kwan Sing LAM, Margaret B. MURPHY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sea turtles are globally endangered and face daily anthropogenic threats, including pollution. However, there is a lack of ecotoxicological information on sea turtles, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. This study aims to determine pollutant levels of foraging green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in South China, including Hong Kong, Guangdong and Taiwan, as a basis for their conservation. Scute, liver and muscle tissues of stranded green turtles were analysed for levels of 17 trace elements and methylmercury (MeHg) (n = 86 for scute and n = 14 for liver) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (n = 11 for muscle and n = 13 for liver). Ten-fold higher levels of Pb, Ba, V and Tl and 40-fold greater Cd levels were measured in green turtle livers in South China relative to other studies conducted over 10 years ago. Measured PBDE levels were also 27-fold and 50-fold greater than those reported in Australia and Japan. These results warrant further investigation of potential toxicological risks to green turtles in South China and their source rookeries in Malaysia, Micronesia, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Japan and Taiwan. Research should target monitoring pollutant levels in sea turtles within the West Pacific/Southeast Asia regional management unit spanning East Asia to Southeast Asia to fill in knowledge gaps, in particular in areas such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines where less or no data is available and where foraging grounds of sea turtles have been identified. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-742
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume234
Early online dateDec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Citation

Ng, C. K. Y., Lam, J. C. W., Zhang, X. H., Gu, H. X., Li, T. H., Ye, M. B, . . . Murphy, M. B. (2018). Levels of trace elements, methylmercury and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in foraging green turtles in the South China region and their conservation implications. Environmental Pollution, 234, 735-742. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.100

Keywords

  • Trace elements
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Risk assessment
  • Green turtle
  • China

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