HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Environmental Sciences


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Edward O. Keith

Second Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Third Advisor

Jack Manock


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been linked to cancer in humans. Subsequently, 16 of them were listed as priority pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clean Water Act. The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is an herbivorous endangered species that could have the potential to accumulate these compounds. The waters they inhabit have been shown to have PAH concentrations in the sediment from 0.035 μg/g w.w. (wet weight) to 0.686 μg/g w.w. PAH bioaccumulate due to their lipophilic nature and the manatee has a thick blubber layer that may allow for the accumulation of these compounds. Forty-eight archived subcutaneous manatee blubber samples were collected from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Mammal Pathobiology lab and analyzed for 16 known priority pollutant PAH. Samples were then compared to a standard using HPLC analysis. Concentrations were found to range from 0.001 μg/g w.w. to 84.84 μg/g w.w. All 16 priority pollutant PAH were found, however not all 16 were found in any one animal. Forty-six of forty-eight manatee samples analyzed were found to have at least one form of PAH. The number of occurrences of each PAH out of 48 samples ranged from 1-19. The highest average PAH concentration was acenaphthylene with 12.60 μg/g w.w. There was no significant difference (p-value >0.10) between total, carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic PAH, with levels of 2.01 μg/g w.w., 2.18 μg/g w.w. and 1.84 μg/g w.w. respectively. No significant difference (p-value >0.10) was found between year or location of carcass recovery as well as sex of manatee. Averages ranged between 0.02 μg/g w.w. and 18.92 μg/g w.w. for year and 0.15 μg/g w.w. and 5.68 μg/g w.w. for location. Male average levels were 5.21 μg/g w.w., while female averages and perinatal averages were 1.51 μg/g w.w. and 1.147 μg/g w.w. respectively.

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