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Objectives 1. To determine tissue residue levels of metals and radionuclides in caribou given its importance as a country food species. 2. To monitor contaminant exposure in caribou as a representative species of the terrestrial arctic ecosystem. 3. To examine metal speciation and isotopes ratios (uranium, thorium, strontium, titanium) which may provide insight into the source of contamination (anthropogenic vs. natural). 4.To provide information on temporal trends in radionuclide and metal levels in several caribou herds to determine whether levels are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same over time. 5. To determine the efficacy of international controls in reducing or eliminating pollutants entering the Canadian Arctic terrestrial ecosystem. Barren-ground caribou are found across northern Canada, and are a major component of the traditional diet in communities across the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut. Caribou are a good indicator species for terrestrial ecosystem contamination given their wide distribution across northern Canada, the simple air-lichen-caribou food chain, the existing baseline data set, and their importance as a country food species. Three (3) caribou herds from across the NWT and Nunavut have been selected as sentinel herds, with a different herd to be sampled each year to determine tissue residue levels and monitor temporal trends. Field collections will be conducted in cooperation with local Hunter’s and Trapper’s Organizations and/or local aboriginal organizations, utilizing local hunters in planning and conducting the field work. Samples will be tested for a wide range of environmental contaminants including 10 heavy metals and 7 radionuclides.
Short Term i) to provide additional information for use in updating health advisories. Long Term i)to investigate the fate and effects of contaminant deposition and transport to the Yukon, allowing Northerners to better manage the issue of contaminants. ii)to determine levels of contaminants for use in long term trend monitoring.
LONG TERM: Determine the effects, at the individual and population level, of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and their metabolites in the polar bear; determine trend of POPs in the Arctic marine environment using polar bear tissues as a biomonitor. SHORT TERM: a. Determine 10-year temporal trends of POPs in the Hudson Bay Sub-Arctic Ecosystem from 1990-1989 by analysis of archived polar bear biopsy samples, including changes in enantiomeric composition of -HCH and chlordane compounds and ratio of -HCH/-HCH (cross-referenced to separate proposal on HCHs). b. Determine if there is selective tissue distribution of the enantiomers of chiral contaminants in polar bears, which may influence target organ toxicity, by analysis of archived polar bear samples. c. Determine the endocrine disrupting effect of POPs on testosterone and PCB metabolite profiles by in vitro metabolism studies using polar bear liver microsomes. d. In collaboration with CWS P&N Region, the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, determine the immunotoxic effects of PCBs and other organochlorines in polar bears throughout a gradient of exposure (Hudson Bay, low; Svalbard, high). e. Determine the effects of hydroxy-PCBs on circulating thyroid hormone and vitamin A concentrations.