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The otter (Lutra lutra) in Sweden - population trends in relation to ΣDDT and total PCB concentrations during 1968-99
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology. Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Svenska Jägareförbundet, Swedish Hunter´s Assiciation.
2001 (English)In: Environmental Pollution, ISSN 0269-7491, E-ISSN 1873-6424, Vol. 111, 457-469 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) has been suggested as the major cause of the European otter (Lutra lutra) population decline. This study investigates temporal and geographical changes in otter numbers as well as total PCB and ΣDDT concentrations in otters and their food in diferent parts of Sweden with various pollution impacts during three decades. In Sweden, rare species belong to the State and carcasses of such specimens are sent to the authorities. Two-hundred and eight specimens have been used to investigate temporal and spatial variation in the otter populations during 1968 and 1999. One-hundred and twentyfive of them have been chemically analysed. The population trends in northern Sweden coincide with the temporal trends of the contaminants. When concentrations of PCBs decrease in the environment, otter population increases. Neither aldrin/dieldrin nor mercury pollution seem to explain why the Swedish otter populations decreased dramatically during the 1960s-1980s. In southern Sweden total PCB concentrations are still high and the indications of improvement of the population are weak.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 111, 457-469 p.
Keyword [en]
Population trends, Otter, PCB, DDT, Sweden
National Category
Developmental Biology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Environmental Toxicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-199056DOI: 10.1016/S0269-7491(00)00085-3ISI: 000165205900013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-199056DiVA: diva2:619333
Note

Correction in: Environmental Pollution, vol. 112, issue 3, pp. 521 (2001).

ISI: 000167622400025

Available from: 2013-05-03 Created: 2013-05-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Otter (Lutra lutra) in Sweden: Contaminants and Health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Otter (Lutra lutra) in Sweden: Contaminants and Health
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the 1950s the otter started to decline in numbers and distribution in Sweden and other parts of Europe. In 1972 a game law came into force, listing otter as a species that if found dead should be reported and sent to the authorities. The numbers of dead otters reported from different areas indicate population status and distribution. Between 1970 and 2012, 832 otters were sent to the authorities, the majority (66%) during the last ten years. Most were killed in traffic accidents or drowned in fishing gear. However, the main cause of the decline is believed to be environmental contaminants. Experimental data show that a PCB residue level in muscle tissue of 12 mg/kg lw causes reproductive impairment in mink (Neovison vison), suggesting reproductive problems also in the highly PCB-exposed otters in Sweden. Since the bans of PCB and DDT in the mid-1970s, concentrations of these substances in otter and fish have decreased and the otter population is increasing.

Few pathological changes in otters have been found that can be related to high contaminant concentrations. However, we found a correlation between elevated PCB concentrations and alterations in bone mineral density. No relationship was seen between DDE and bone parameters.

The decline of the otter coincided with the decline of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in Sweden, all showing decreased reproductive outcome. Reproductive success started to increase for all of them around 1990 and during the same period concentrations of PCB and DDE have decreased in these species.

The body condition among female otters has increased over the study period, indicating an improved health status. However, we found a high prevalence (71%) of cysts on the spermatic duct in otters collected between 1999 and 2012, possibly caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Although the organochlorine concentrations in otters have decreased, otters still face many problems. New threats to the otter population in Scandinavia are the perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOS and PFOA. Results in this thesis show an increasing trend for these compounds in otters up to 2011, including some extremely high concentrations of PFOS in otters from southern Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 47 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1051
Keyword
Otter (Lutra lutra), PCB, DDT, PFAAs, reproduction, bone, time trends
National Category
Developmental Biology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Environmental Toxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-199068 (URN)978-91-554-8688-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-11, Lindahlsalen, Norbyvägen 18A, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-05-21 Created: 2013-05-03 Last updated: 2013-08-30Bibliographically approved

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