Heavy Metal Whales (and Squid?)

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by Clem, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Clem

    Clem Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Hi, all. I haven't been doing much with cephs lately (weird, I know), but in this week of bad news for whales my attention was caught by news that sperm whales are carrying alarmingly high levels of aluminium, titanium, mercury, cadmium, chromium, silver, and lead in their tissues. Article here.

    As noted, the layers of blubber that were sampled were laid down when the whales were in the "polar regions." Presumably that refers primarily to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, where sperm whales eat a lot of very big squid, especially Mesonychoteuthis. The whales must be absorbing some percentage of the metal contaminants as a result of eating squid, which raises some large questions: how are the squid ingesting the metals, how are the squid surviving this poisoning (if they are surviving it), and has anyone tested tissue samples from Antarctic squid for the presence of things that ought not to be in squid?

    On a related note, I'm sure that ob will be fine, he didn't eat that much of the Te Papa colossal. I think.

    Cheers,
    Clem
     
  2. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hmmmmm Typically it's long lived species that accumulate heavy metals, things like whales, orange roughy, sharks etc. It would be interesting to test the squid
     
  3. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Without trying to spread wild, unsubstantiated rumors, I remember reading somewhere that some squid tested and caught off the west coast of NZ's South Island had cadmium levels six times higher than normal? I couldn't find anything about this particular stat in a quick search (hmmmm), but did turn up a few other articles about metal uptake/accumulation in squid, like this one.
     
  4. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Interesting! Course Cadmium is an issue in NZ apparently due to our geomorphology, Bluff oysters are high in it as is Orange Roughy.
     
  5. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome back Clem! I'm off the IV drip and back again on liquid food, thank you very much :wink:
     
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