Analysis of the Population Genetics and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Burdens of Otters in England and Wales: With Case Studies of Populations in South West England

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Analysis of the Population Genetics and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Burdens of Otters in England and Wales: With Case Studies of Populations in South West England

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dc.contributor.author Pountney, Angela en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2010-08-24T15:43:26Z en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-25T16:57:38Z en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-21T10:49:29Z
dc.date.issued 2008-09-30 en_GB
dc.description.abstract Otter populations declined drastically across many areas of England and Wales during the 1960s to 1980s. The main cause of this decline is thought to have been high concentrations of organic pollutants, in particular PCBs and dieldrin. Here we look at the health of the present day otter population, focussing on the numbers of otters, the genetic diversity of populations and investigating a possible new organic pollutant threat, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). A non-invasive spraint genotyping study of the otter population inhabiting the River Camel in Cornwall not only revealed that the river was capable of supporting a minimum number of 12 otters over a 9 month period, but gave insight into the ranges and genetic relationships of the individuals using the river system. A further population genetic study was carried out focussing on the River Itchen in Hampshire, a population which declined drastically to just a few isolated individuals before receiving otters through a captive breeding programme. Microsatellite genotyping of tissue samples showed the River Itchen population to be relatively diverse, indicating a successful population recovery, and haplotype analysis reveals that captive bred otters have successfully bred within the River Itchen population. However, haplotype analysis also indicates that the otters used to found the captive breeding programme were unlikely to have originated from a native British population. Concentrations of PBDEs in otters rival the high concentrations observed in many marine mammal species and are approaching the concentrations of PCBs and DDTs already observed in otters. The profile of the PBDE congeners found shows that lower congeners show relative concentrations similar to those observed in many other species of biota, with high BDE-47 dominating the profile and BDE-99 and -100 also found at significant concentrations. Otters also contain relatively high concentrations of the congeners BDE-153 and BDE-209, a trend generally typical of terrestrial top predators. In summary, the otter populations studied appear to be recovering well. However, increasing concentrations of PBDEs may cause problems for otter populations in the future. en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship Hampshire and Isle of White Wildlife Trust en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship Environment Agency en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Pountney A., Stevens J.R., Sykes T. and Tyler C. (2009) Population genetics and PBDE analysis of English and Welsh otters. Environment Agency report no. SC040024/SR1 en_GB
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10036/110261 en_GB
dc.language.iso en en_GB
dc.publisher University of Exeter en_GB
dc.rights.embargoreason Publishing papers en_GB
dc.subject Otters en_GB
dc.subject Lutra lutra en_GB
dc.subject Microsatellite en_GB
dc.subject Haplotype en_GB
dc.subject PBDEs en_GB
dc.subject Organic pollutant en_GB
dc.title Analysis of the Population Genetics and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Burdens of Otters in England and Wales: With Case Studies of Populations in South West England en_GB
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_GB
dc.date.available 2012-02-28T05:00:04Z en_US
dc.date.available 2013-03-21T10:49:29Z
dc.contributor.advisor Stevens, Jamie R. en_GB
dc.contributor.advisor Tyler, Charles R. en_GB
dc.publisher.department Biosciences en_GB
dc.type.degreetitle PhD in Biological Sciences en_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_GB
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_GB


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