Saxitoxin in western and northern Alaskan food webs
+ estimated doses to walruses and bowheads during warm ocean conditions of 2019
Collaboration of the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska Sea Grant—Gay Sheffield
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During the unusually warm ocean conditions of 2019, scientists studied toxic algae in the Arctic food web, focusing on clams, krill/zooplankton, walruses and bowhead whales.
Highlights from the study include:
- Clams had higher toxin concentrations than other layers of the food web tested. A few clams collected in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas contained toxin concentrations above commercial seafood safety regulatory limits.
- Walruses feed on clams and appear to consume higher toxin doses than bowhead whales that feed on zooplankton. The clams sampled in 2019 contained higher toxin concentrations than the zooplankton.
- Estimated daily toxin doses to walruses during the warm summer of 2019 were in the range of doses known to have health impacts in other mammals. Additional studies are ongoing to determine whether walruses are actually experiencing health impacts.
The bulletin comes from a collaboration of the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska Sea Grant.
- Item number: MAB-82
- Year: 2022
- Pages: 2
- Size: 8.5x11 inches