Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin in 2007.


The presence of anthropogenic pollutants throughout all compartments of the marine environment have been of international concern for a number of decades. While a great number of datasets documenting “absolute” concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in a variety of marine biota are available, bioaccumulation, biomagnification and the fate of these compounds in the marine food web or marine ecosystem is often not possible. This thesis reports various analytical methodologies employed to determine levels of a wide scope of persistent organic pollutants in marine biota and traces the flow of carbon and nitrogen isotopes through the marine food web, ultimately applying bioconcentration and biomagnification modelling techniques to these data. Standardisation of sampling procedures and baseline levels of a wide range of lipophilic contaminants in a variety of marine species are reported. This thesis (and associated publications) report a number of new contaminant datasets in Irish marine species and reports that no adverse effects to the consumer of Irish fishery produce are currently expected from a number of contaminant groups including toxaphene, PBDEs and HBCD. Enantiospecific enrichment and trophic level status related accumulation of OCP compounds in killer whales is reported, with the first known use of stable isotope techniques to identify marine mammal dietary influences on a killer whale from British and Irish waters. Factors influencing pollutant bioaccumulation in commercially important and/or biologically sensitive species including, blue whiting, eels and killer whales are discussed. The role of stable isotopes in modelling contaminant bioaccumulation, trophic transfer within the marine web, as a means to establish dietary and/or habitat preference and the implications of findings on environmental and food safety monitoring programmes are discussed. Datasets and techniques reported demonstrate that stable isotope based techniques are powerful tools in environmental and food safety monitoring programmes thereby continuing to further protect both the consumer of marine produce, marine species and marine biodiversity.


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