Concentrations and patterns of organochlorine contaminants in marine turtles from Mediterranean and Atlantic waters

C. McKenzie (Lead / Corresponding author), B. J. Godley, R. W. Furness, D. E. Wells

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Concentrations of individual chlorobiphenyls (CBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in marine turtle tissues collected from the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Greece) and European Atlantic waters (Scotland) between 1994 and 1996 are described. ΣCB concentrations were highest in adipose tissue and ranged from 775 to 893, 39 to 261 and 47 to 178 μg/kg wet wt in loggerhead (Caretta carretta), green (Chelonia mydas) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtles, respectively. Omnivorous loggerhead turtles had the highest organochlorine contaminant (OC) concentrations in all tissues sampled. It is thought that dietary preferences were likely to be the main differentiating factor among species. Decreasing lipid contaminant burdens with turtle size were observed in green turtles, most likely attributable to a change in diet with age. Principal component analysis of data from loggerhead and green turtles indicated that there were also pattern differences between species, confirming bioaccumulation differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-135
Number of pages19
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number2
Early online date24 Mar 1999
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999



  • Caretta carretta
  • Chelonia mydas
  • Dermochelys coriacea
  • Marine turtles
  • Organochlorine pesticides

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