Trends, spatial distribution, and health effects of contaminants on Washington pinnipeds


Calambokidis, J., J. Huggins, S. Jefferies, D. Lambourn. 2008. Trends, spatial distribution, and health effects of contaminants on Washington pinnipeds. Final report for Prescott Grant NA04NMF4390052 prepared by Cascadia Research for the National Marine Fisheries Service. March 2008.


During the 4-year period of this grant, 321 stranded pinnipeds of six species were examined in Washington State by Cascadia Research sometimes in collaboration with WDFW. This exceeded both the intended period of response and the number of animals responded to. Samples were collected for analysis of long-term trends in contaminants in Puget Sound. These activities resulted in a number of significant new findings: 1) collaboration in the finding of six Guadalupe fur seals, an unprecedented number for this region which resulted in the declaration of an Unusual Mortality Event for this species, 2) a high rate of mortality of pups on Smith Island in 2005 which also lead to findings of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in some of these animals, 3) a recent increase in trauma-related mortality of harbor seals in southern Puget Sound. Overall level of response, the thoroughness of stranding examinations, and the level of collaboration with other stranding responders significantly improved through this grant.

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