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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3309

Title: Persistent organic pollutants in diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) tissues and eggs, and sediments in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey
Authors: Basile, Emily Rose
Keywords: Biology;Ecotoxicology and environmental quality;Diamondback terrapin--Eggs
Issue Date: 22-Jul-2010
Abstract: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are ubiquitous in the environment and have the potential to become a health risk to wildlife by eliciting toxic effects and altering survival and reproduction. The group of studies included in this dissertation characterizes POP contamination levels and patterns in an estuary located on the central coast of New Jersey by utilizing a model estuarine vertebrate, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). I determined that the terrapin is a suitable bioindicator of organic contamination in an estuarine environment and can be used as indicators of local contamination by collecting a non-lethal plasma sample which represents the stored contaminant burden. The POP concentrations and patterns in the terrapin tissues collected suggest that Barnegat Bay, New Jersey has relevant levels of organic contaminants relative to other wildlife species, with the exception of a contaminant class of emerging concern, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Terrapin tissues and Barnegat Bay nesting beach sediment revealed an atypical PBDE pattern with a higher prevalence of hexa-brominated PBDEs (154, 153 and 100) instead of the normal predominance of lower tetra and penta-brominated PBDEs (47 and 99). The data in these studies indicate maternal transfer of all POPs reported and that it is the major source of POPs to developing terrapin embryos. In an experiment where terrapin eggs were incubated in sediments spiked with PBDEs, transfer of PBDEs and other POPs from nesting sediment into developing eggs was found to be negligible. Therefore transfer of POPs from natural nesting sediments into eggs is unsubstantial unless that natural sediment is highly contaminated. Examination of three health endpoints in terrapins suggest that environmentally relevant concentrations of mirex, PCBs and PBDEs may be associated with immune and endocrine disruption and that PBDE 47 may be associated with a disruption in neurobehavioral development. These data suggest that terrapins may also be useful as bioindicators of endocrine disruption and immunotoxicity within the estuarine environment in respect to other species and humans.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3309
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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