We present the first evidence of accumulation of organochlorine compounds (DDTs, PCBs, HCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef. These dolphins are considered by the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to be high priority species for management. Analyses of biopsy samples, collected from free ranging individuals, showed PAHs levels comparable to those reported from highly industrialized countries. DDTs and HCB were found at low levels, while in some individuals, PCBs were above thresholds over which immunosuppression and reproductive anomalies occur. These results highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of these and other contaminants, and their potential adverse effects on dolphins and other marine fauna. This is particularly important given the current strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area being undertaken by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government.
- Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
- Orcaella heinsohni
- Persistent organochlorine pollutants
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- Sousa chinensis