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Overview

The activities of modern society have unleashed a range of toxic chemicals into the global environment. Many of these toxicants are now being detected in increasing quantities in the tissues of marine mammals, most notably in top predators who acquire relatively large amounts of toxic chemicals by ingesting contaminated prey.

Toxicology of Marine Mammals focuses on the effects of natural and introduced toxicants on organs and systems in marine...
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Toxicology of Marine Mammals

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Overview

The activities of modern society have unleashed a range of toxic chemicals into the global environment. Many of these toxicants are now being detected in increasing quantities in the tissues of marine mammals, most notably in top predators who acquire relatively large amounts of toxic chemicals by ingesting contaminated prey.

Toxicology of Marine Mammals focuses on the effects of natural and introduced toxicants on organs and systems in marine mammals. It provides overviews on health status and contamination, with subsequent chapters devoted to whales, pinnipeds, dolphins, polar bears, manatees, and sea otters. Internationally renowned researchers assess the mounting evidence for adverse effects on reproduction and the chemically-induced increased susceptibility to death from infectious diseases. The concluding chapter addresses perspectives and issues for the future.

This compelling book features research from a vast geographic landscape ranging from the tropics to the Arctic, with case studies on intriguing areas of contamination such as the St. Lawrence River and the Baltic Sea. It identifies the severe threats that environmental contaminants pose to the health and future of marine mammals. It also makes an urgent call for legislation to regulate the incessant pollution ravaging our seas and devastating the marine mammal population worldwide. Toxicologists working in marine biology and veterinary medicine, conservation scientists, fisheries scientists, environmental scientists, and wildlife managers will all benefit from this comprehensive resource.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Implications of contaminants for marine mammal health 1
1 Pathology of marine mammals with special reference to infectious diseases 3
2 Contaminants and marine mammal immunotoxicology and pathology 38
3 Reproductive and developmental effects of environmental organochlorines on marine mammals 55
4 Effects of environmental contaminants on the endocrine system of marine mammals 67
5 Opportunities for environmental contaminant research: What we can learn from marine mammals in human care 82
Pt. II An overview of contamination of marine mammals and their environment 97
6 Persistent ocean contaminants and marine mammals: A retrospective overview 99
7 Heavy metals in marine mammals 135
8 Persistent organic contaminants in Arctic marine mammals 168
9 Inorganic pollutants in Arctic marine mammals 206
10 Impacts of algal toxins on marine mammals 247
11 Toxicology of sirenians 270
Pt. III Cetaceans 289
12 Cetaceans and contaminants 291
13 Pathology of cetaceans. A case study: Beluga from the St. Lawrence estuary 333
14 Immune status of St. Lawrence estuary beluga whales 381
15 Evaluation of genotoxic effects of environmental contaminants in cells of marine mammals, with particular emphasis on beluga whales 404
16 Mechanisms of aromatic hydrocarbon toxicity: implications for cetacean morbidity and mortality 429
17 Ecotoxicological investigations of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) strandings: Accumulation of persistent organic chemicals and metals 458
Pt. IV Pinnipeds 489
18 Global temporal trends of organochlorines and heavy metals in pinnipeds 491
19 Pathology in Baltic grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in relation to environmental exposure to endocrine disruptors 507
20 The immune system, environmental contaminants and virus-associated mass mortalities among pinnipeds 534
21 The effects of chemical contaminants on immune functions in harbour seals: Results of a semi-field study 558
22 Immunotoxicology of free-ranging pinnipeds: Approaches to study design 571
Pt. V Perspectives for the future 593
23 Conclusions and perspectives for the future 595
Index 615
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