Assessing microplastics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination in sea otters from Northeastern pacific (British Columbia, Canada): Implications for the conservation of threatened marine mammals

Marine mammals are some of the most contaminated animals in the world. Pollutants work their way up the food chain and cause a number of health issues in predator species like killer whales. This is because any pollution present in their food is passed on to them which continues to increase over their lifespan as they continue to eat contaminated food. Two contaminants that need to be further studied in order to protect aquatic wildlife are microplastics that result from plastic breaking down and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that result from oil spills. By comparing the contamination found in killer whales at the top of the food chain to other organisms we can better understand the true potential of both microplastics and PAHs to impact the ecosystem.

Dana Price
Faculty Supervisor: 
Andrew Trites;Juan Jose Alava
British Columbia
Partner University: