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Happy Orcas. Dead Orcas. State of Southern Resident Orcas . Almost 20% orcas died between 1995 and 2000. Reproductive females have not produced young in ten years. Only four adult males in the entire community of 80 whales. Puget Sound Orcas and PCBs.

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state of southern resident orcas
State of Southern Resident Orcas
  • Almost 20% orcas died between 1995 and 2000.
  • Reproductive females have not produced young in ten years.
  • Only four adult males in the entire community of 80 whales.
puget sound orcas and pcbs
Puget Sound Orcas and PCBs
  • Highest levels of PCBs in blubber of any marine mammal in the world
    • Average almost 150 ppm
    • <10 ppm PCB is known to cause immune problems in seals
  • Dead female transient orca on Dungeness Spit in May 2002
    • 1000 ppm PCB
    • 12ppm- EPA’s standard for marine sediments
slide6
PCBs
  • Highly stable oily fluids and solids
    • Transformers, pesticides, etc
  • Fat soluble
    • Reside in fatty tissue
  • Block hormone activity
    • Destroy normal immune function
    • Cause liver cancer, pituitary tumors, leukemia, and lymphoma
  • Banned in U.S. since 1977
ecosystem review
Ecosystem Review
  • Ecosystem
    • Organisms interacting with environment and each other through a food chain
  • Food Chain
    • Biomass moves from one organism to another as each eats a lower member and, in turn, is eaten by a higher member
generalized ecological pyramid
Generalized Ecological Pyramid

3° Cons.

1 g

2° Consumers

10 g

Primary Consumers

100 g

Primary Producers

1000 g Biomass

idealized puget sound ecological pyramid
Idealized Puget Sound Ecological Pyramid

Orcas

1 g

Salmon

10 g

Zooplankton

100 g

Phytoplankton

1000 g

pollutants
Pollutants
  • Pollutant
    • Adversely affects the health, survival, or activities of living organisms
    • Persistent Organic Pollutant
      • POP
      • Stable, Long Lasting
      • Includes DDT and PCBs
factors influencing impact of pollutants
Factors Influencing Impact of Pollutants
  • Solubility
    • Water soluble pollutants
      • Move easily through environment
    • Fat soluble pollutants
      • Need a carrier
      • Long-lasting in body’s fatty tissue
  • Persistence
    • More stable
    • Longer to break down
    • More harm it can do
pollutants in the food chain
Pollutants in the Food Chain
  • Bioaccumulation
    • Cells increase the concentrations of molecules relative to the environment
  • Biomagnification
    • Concentration of pollutants increases as they move up the ecological pyramid
    • Only 10% of biomass, but most of the pollutant is transferred
ddt in a long island estuary from woodwell wurster and isaccson 1967

Trophic level

Organism

DDT in wet weight of whole organism

Primary Producer

Green Alga

0.08 ppm

Primary Consumer

Mud Snail

0.26 ppm

Secondary Consumer

Summer Flounder

1.28 ppm

Tertiary Consumer

Ring-billed Gull

75.5 ppm

(About 1000x Initial Concentrations!)

DDT in a Long Island Estuary(from Woodwell, Wurster and Isaccson, 1967)
idealized puget sound ecological pyramid with pcbs

Trophic Level

%PCB

Phytoplankton

0.1%

Zooplankton

1%

Salmon

10%

Orcas

100%

Idealized Puget Sound Ecological PyramidWith PCBs

Orcas

1g

Salmon

10 g

Zooplankton

100 g

Phytoplankton

1000 g

1 g

the double whammy
The ‘Double Whammy’
  • In blubber, PCBs are not very harmful.
  • Low salmon runs force orcas to metabolize more blubber to survive.
  • The blubber releases PCBs into the blood, destroying the immune system.
  • Therefore, starvation increases the lethality of the pollutant.
sources of pollutants in the environment
Sources of Pollutants in the Environment
  • Point Source
    • Specific location of concentrated pollutants
      • Factory waste
      • Sewage
  • Nonpoint Source
    • Scattered or diffuse sources of pollutants
      • Golf courses
      • Agriculture