foto credits: Jaap van der Hiele

Polluted porpoises: Generational transfer of organic contaminants in harbour porpoises from the southern North Sea

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), bioaccumulate in marine ecosystems. Top predators contain high levels of POPs in their lipid-rich tissues, which may result in adverse effects on their reproductive, immune and endocrine functions. Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are among the smallest of cetaceans and live under high metabolic demand, making them particularly vulnerable to environmental pressures.

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