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Bioaccumulation and biological effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and priority emerging flame retardants in two marine mammal species from the St. Lawrence Estuary

Description

Multiple point sources of contaminants, like effluents or runoffs, found along the coasts may represent toxicological hazards to marine organisms. Among these, persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals such as the halogenated flame retardants, used in a diversity of commercial products, have been determined at occasionally high levels in the Canadian environment and wildlife samples.

Recently, a new generation of flame retardants have emerged as alternatives to the banned or restricted commercial mixture of polybrominated diphenyl ethers. However, little information is available on the environmental fate and biological effects of these compounds in the aquatic environment.

This study will investigate the occurrence and temporal trends of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and priority emerging flame retardants in recently collected and archived St. Lawrence Beluga and Minke Whale liver and blubber samples. The relationships between biopsy concentrations of these flame retardants and genomic and proteomic markers of stress, as well as stable isotope and fatty acid signatures will be investigated. Finally, biological effects of two flame retardants will be measured using skin cells at the gene and cellular levels.

Results from this research will increase science-based knowledge on the biological effects of these priority contaminants on marine mammals as well as bring important information to managers and policymakers for the protection of productive marine ecosystems in Canada and internationally.

Program Name

National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG)

Year(s)

2014 - 2017

Ecoregion(s)

Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Jonathan Verreault
Associate Professor, Centre de recherche en toxicologie de l'environnement (TOXEN)
Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Team Member(s)

Magali Houde, Environment Canada, Montréal, Québec

Mélanie Douville, Environment Canada, Montréal, Québec

Véronique Lesage, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, Québec

David Janz, Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Dany Zbinden, Mériscope Marine Research, Portneuf-sur-Mer, Québec

Robert Michaud, Groupe de recherche et d'éducation sur les mammifères marins, Tadoussac, Québec

Antoine Simond, Centre de recherche en toxicologie de l'environnement (TOXEN), Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Ling Wang, Centre de recherche en toxicologie de l'environnement (TOXEN), Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec

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