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Polar bears are at the top of the arctic marine food chain. Owing to the high lipid content of their diet, polar bears appear particularly prone to bioaccumulate organochlorines. Polar bears from East Greenland and Svalbard have higher contaminant levels than polar bears elsewhere in the Arctic. Levels of PCBs in these areas might negatively affect reproduction and survival. So far more than 130 polar bear samples have been collected since 1999. These samples are being analysed for organochlorines and pathological effects.
The ZERO database contains all validated data from the Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations Basic Programmes (ClimateBasis, GeoBasis, BioBasis and MarinBasis). The purpose of the project is to run and update the database with new validated data after each succesfull field season. Data will be available for the public through the Zackenberg homepage linking to the NERI database. The yearly update is dependent on that each Basis programme delivers validated data in the proscribed format.
Organochlorines (OCs) concentrate through the arctic marine food webs and are stored in the adipose tissue due to their high lipophilic and persistent characteristics. The polar bears receive high doses of POPS through their diet and a controlled experimt was need to resolve effect on the immune system and effects on internal organs. Such a controlled experiment on sledge dogs as a replacement test organism for the polar bear was conducted from 2004-2006 to investigate dose-response effects.