The real world of environmental pollutants: New approaches to identifying priority contaminants in the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale food web

The Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW, Orcinus orca) population is assessed at 73 individuals, and significant threats include high levels of endocrine disrupting contaminants, alongside other anthropogenic threats. Studies have painted a partial picture of the contaminants of concern in the SRKW food web. For example, preliminary studies of chinook salmon suggest that some resident populations are more contaminated than others which may be contributing to the high PCB burden in SRKW. This underscores the value of generating new information on contaminant concentrations and profiles in dominant prey species and / or stocks of this endangered whale population. This study presents a science-based evaluation of the contaminants found in their diet (food web) and habitat, the development, adaptation and/or application of new tools to prioritise (rank) the pollutants of concern, and the delivery of refined guidance to support of the wider conservation agenda for this (and other) at risk species

Intern: 
Stephanie Holbert
Faculty Supervisor: 
Tanya Brown;Frank Gobas
Province: 
British Columbia
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