Reference : Lactation effect on the trace element dynamics in northern elephant seals (Mirounga angu...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Life sciences : Aquatic sciences & oceanology
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/5747
Lactation effect on the trace element dynamics in northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris)
English
Habran, Sarah mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
Debier, Cathy [ > > ]
Lepoint, Gilles mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
Crocker, Daniel [ > > ]
Houser, Dorian [ > > ]
Das, Krishna mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
30-Nov-2007
Yes
International
17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals
du 29 novembre 2007 au 3 décembre 2007
Society for Marine Mammology
Cape Town
South Africa
[en] Northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, are exceptional mammals: females fast entirely during nursing while their pups may quadruple in weight over the 25-day suckling period. Females thus lose approximately a third of body mass and produce energy-rich milk with a high fat content. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (d13C and d15N used as diet markers) and total mercury concentrations (Hg) were measured in tissues (blood cells, serum, full blood, milk and blubber) from 20 mother-pup pairs on days 4 and 21 of lactation. A systematic difference was observed between isotopic values in blood cells and serum of the mothers, linked to diet and distinct biochemical composition between blood components. d13C differed between inner and outer blubber layers and were similar between inner blubber and milk. High Hg concentrations (up to 350 ng.g-1ww at the beginning of lactation) were found in the blood of mother elephant seals linked to their high d15N values in blood cells. Hg transfer through placenta and milk was observed between mothers and pups. A significant increase of blood Hg concentration in mothers (+285 ng.g-1ww) and a decrease in pups (-93 ng.g-1ww) were observed between days 4 and 21 of lactation. Both processes were explained by a remobilization of proteins and lipids during fasting and milk production in mothers and by a dilution of Hg in pups due to their high mass increase during this period. This study confirms that lactation modifies stable nitrogen isotope ratios in tissues, as well as mercury levels in blood from mothers and pups, and highlights the existence of a transplacental and transmammary transfer of mercury in northern elephant seals. Therefore, physiological processes and body condition should be considered carefully when interpreting stable isotope ratios and Hg concentrations in the framework of biomonitoring.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS
Researchers ; Professionals
http://hdl.handle.net/2268/5747

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