Effects of persistent organic pollutants on polar bears in Svalbard

Updated 2000-10-30

The study covers many areas of ecotoxicology research on polar bears. Monitoring of POP levels and studies of effects on endocrine disruption, immune system, reproduction, and demography are all parts of the study.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
1996 - 2001
Data collection
1990 - 2000
Data processing
1990 - 1998
Data reporting
1990 - 1998

Contact information

Contact person
Andrew E. Derocher
Norwegian Polar Institute N-9296 Tromsø Norway
+47 77 75 05 24
+47 77 75 05 01
Other project contacts
Geir Wing Gabrielsen, Norwegian Polar Institute, N-9296, Tromsø, Norway - gabrielsen@npolar.no Øystein Wiig, Zoological Museum, University of Oslo,Oslo, Norway Janneche Utne Skaare, Veterinary Institute, Olso Hans Jorgen Larsen, Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine Bert van Bavel, University of Umeå, Sweden

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Biological effects
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Marine mammals
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

POP levels are measured in blood plasma, milk, and fat biopsies


Regions studied
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data are stored at the Norwegian Polar Institute and coupled to relevant biological data.
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Skaare, J. U., Bernhoft, A., Wiig, Ø., Norum, K. R., Eide, D. M., and Derocher, A. E. Relationships between plasma levels of organochlorines, retinol and thyroid hormones from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) at Svalbard. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. in press. Andersen, M., Lie, E., Derocher, A. E., Belikov, S. E., Bernhoft, A., Boltunov, A., Garner, G. W., Skaare, J. U., and Wiig, Ø. PCB levels in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the European and Asian Arctic. Polar Biology. in press. Bernhoft, A., Skaare, J. U., Wiig, Ø., Derocher, A. E., and Larsen, H. J. S. 2000. Possible immunotoxic effects of organochlorines in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) at Svalbard. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. 59: 561-574. Skaare, J. U., Bernhoft, A., Derocher, A., Gabrielsen, G. W., Goksøyr, A., Henriksen, E., Larsen, H. J., Lie, E., and Wiig, Ø. 2000. Organochlorines in top predators at Svalbard - occurrence, levels and effects. Toxicology Letters. 112: 103-109. Bernhoft A, Wiig Ø, Skaare JU (1997) Organochlorines in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) at Svalbard. Environmental Pollution 95:159-175
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

blood plasma and serum, milk samples, fat biopsies stored at Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø stored at -20 C

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

see Bernhoft et al. 1997

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

PCB analyses were performed at the Environmental Toxicology Laboratory at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science / National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway. The laboratory has Norwegian Accreditation for OCs according to the requirements of NS-EN45001 and ISO/IEC Guide 25. The analytical quality of the laboratory was approved in several inter-calibration tests containing components and matrixes relevant to their work. This includes four steps of the ICES/IOC/OSPARCOM test organised by WHO/UNEP in 1982,1992 and 1996, IUPAC-inter-calibration test in 1989-1993 and an inter-comparison series organised by the National Reference Laboratories in the EU starting in 1995.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Canadian Wildlife Service University of Umeå

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