Human Contamination of the Marine Environment-Arthur Harbor and McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Mahlon C. Kennicutt, Susanne J. Mcdonald, Jose L. Sericano, Paul Boothe, John Oliver, Stephen Safe, B. J. Presley, Hong Liu, Douglas Wolfe, Terry L. Wade, Alan Crockett, Dan Bockus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and trace metal concentrations in McMurdo Sound and Arthur Harbor, Antarctica, sediments and marine biota are reported. Biomarkers of contaminant exposure, biliary metabolites and EROD assays, were also measured. Hydrocarbon and trace metal contamination are generally limited to within hundreds of meters of human settlements. Local releases of fossil fuels, disposal of waste materials, and aging of ship and station structures contribute to contamination. High concentrations of PCBs were detected in sediments (250- 4200 ng g-1) and organisms (up to 420 ng g-1) from Winter Quarters Bay (WQB). Trace metal and PAH sediment concentrations rarely exceed levels known to cause toxic effects in marine organisms, whereas PCBs in WQB often do. Biological responses to exposure include the formation of PAH metabolites and the inducement of the P4501A detoxification system in fish. Induction of EROD activity in in vitro rat hepatoma H4IIE cell bioassays by tissue extracts correlated with known levels of PCB contamination in invertebrate tissues. Local sources of contaminants greatly exceed those attributable to long-distance atmospheric transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1287
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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