Determination of Several Elements in Chelonia mydas and Pterodroma hypoleuca from Hawaii
Shaw, Katherine Rosellyn
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Elemental contaminants are present in the food chain through natural or anthropogenic sources. Larger doses, longer durations of exposure and frequent exposure will increase the risk of elemental toxicity. Animals such as sea turtles and seabirds are often used as bioindicators of environmental contaminants because they are long lived and near the top of their food chains. Beast feathers of Bonin petrel (Pterodroma hypoleuca) have a quick turnover and represent shorter-term exposure, while wing feathers are grown over longer periods and represent longer-term accumulation. Whole blood from Hawaiian green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) was used to evaluate recent exposure while keratinized scute was used to represent long term contamination. Chapter I is a literature review that contains information on the uses of lead isotope ratios and their disadvantages. It also discusses alternatives to lead isotope ratios. Chapter II compares elemental concentrations in wild Hawaiian green sea turtles to captive Hawaiian green sea turtles at Sea Life Park Hawaii to determine if captive sea turtles could be used as a baseline to better understand concentrations in wild sea turtles. Chapter III discusses the concentrations of lead and arsenic in green sea turtles of Kailua Bay that have been exposed to lead shot from a historic skeet shooting range. Chapter IV presents contaminant levels in two feather types from Bonin petrels in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and compares the results to a study conducted approximately 15 years prior to determine how concentrations have changed over time. Chapter V is a risk assessment to determine the risk of lead exposure to sea turtle.