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The aim of the project is to detrmine the content of organic contaminants in sea ice (including dirty ice), sea water (particulate and dissolved), snow, ice algae and phytoplankton collected in the marginal ice zone of the Barents Sea and in Fram Strait, and to calculate bioconcentration factors from the abiotic compartments to the lowest trophic levels of the food chain. Silicate measurements were included in the Fram Strait as water mass tracer. The Barents Sea represents an area influence mainly by first year ice with sea ice formed in the area and or in the Kara Sea, and and strongly influenced by the inflowing two branches of water of Atlantic origin. Samples were collected on a transect along the ice edge and at two transects into the ice. The stations across the Fram Strait were taken in regions affected by water masses and sea ice from differents regions and age. In the western sector, the upper water column was influenced by the inflowing west Spitsbergen current of Atlantic origin and mainly with first-second year ice, while the easter station was influenced by outflowing water from the Arctic Ocean and multiyear sea ice of more eastern origin.
Previous studies (Akvaplan-niva 1994 and 1996) on levels of POPs in limnic systems on Bear Island have shown that sediment and fish from a lake on the southern part of the island (Ellasjøen) have some of the highest levels of PCB and DDT that has been reported from Arctic areas. In a lake situated in the more central part of the island (Øyangen) levels are much lower, and in the same range as reported for lakes in Northern Norway and the Canadian Arctic. No local sources for contamination exist on Bear Island, and it is therefore likely that the contaminants are brought to the island with long-range atmospheric transport. The difference between the two investigated lakes on Bear Island may be due to differences in deposition of precipitation. This theory is currently being investigated through another project called: “Ellasjøen, Bear Island - A mass balance study of a high contaminated Arctic area." Another possible sources for contaminants to Ellasjøen can be the large colonies of seabirds that are situated close to the lake or use the lake for bathing. These seabirds may accumulate contaminants through their marine food chains and deposit guano in Ellasjøen and surrounding areas. Øyangen is much less influenced by seabirds than Ellasjøen. The aim of the present project is to map levels of selected persistent organic pollutants and study their biomagnification in freshwater and marine food chains at/near Bear Island. By linking the results from freshwater and marine food chains we aim to elucidate whether trophodynamics and interaction between marine and terrestrial food chains can be a natural mechanisms for biomagnification of POPs in specific geographic areas.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent and lipophilic compounds used as flame retardants in electronic equipment, plastic material and synthetic fibbers among other things. The PBDEs are mainly used as Deca-BDE and Bromokal 70-5DE, a mixture of tetra-, penta- and hexa-BDE. Due to its chemical and physical properties PBDEs, especially TeBDEs, tend to bioaccumulate. PBDEs were first reported in sediments in USA, and in fish from a Swedish river. More recently PBDEs have also been reported in seals, birds, mussels, whales and humans. In this study an SFE-method for rapid analysis of PBDEs in marine mammals was developed. This method was used to determinate the concentrations of these environmental pollutants in Pilot Whale samples caught in the Faroe Islands, Beluga Whales from the Arctic and Polar Bears from Svalbard. Using this method several PBDEs were analysed in the different species. In addition methoxylated PBDEs (Me-O-PBDE) were identified by interpretation of the different mass spectra’s. Of the 209 theoretical possible congeners only a few PBDE seem to accumulate in the environment. Accumulation of PBDE is related to the different chemical properties of the molecule. With the help of multivariate characterisation of a compound class using semi-empirical molecular orbital calculations, literature data and actual experimental measurements, the behaviour of PBDE in the environment can be modelled and predicted. Such models are essential in order to gain more insight in the behaviour of PBDE in the environment.
In September 1997, the CCGS Des Groseillers was frozen into the permanent ice-pack and started a year-long science program drifting across the southern Canada Basin. This program provided a unique opportunity to carry out a "vertical" food-chain study in a seasonal context to learn how the physical and biological systems couple to produce contaminant entry into the food web (Figure 1). "Vertical" components included the water and ice, particles, algae, zooplankton (sorted by trophic level), fish and seal.. The interpretation of contaminant data collected during SHEBA will provide information about the relationship between seasonal ice formation and melt, seasonal atmospheric transport and water column organochlorine concentrations in the Canada Basin. In addition our contaminant sampling program was integrated within a larger science plan where other SHEBA researchers studied the physical and biological properties of the water column. This means that contaminant distributions can be interpreted and modeled within the full context of physical, chemical and biological processes, and of atmospheric and oceanic transport mechanisms.