Perfluorinated compounds in the Antarctic region: ocean circulation provides prolonged protection from distant sources
MetadataShow full item record
In order to investigate the extent to which Perfluorinated Contaminants (PFCs) have permeated the Southern Ocean food web to date, a range of Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Antarctic-migratory biota were analysed for key ionic PFCs. Based upon the geographical distribution pattern and ecology of biota with detectable vs. non-detectable PFC burdens, an evaluation of the potential contributory roles of alternative system input pathways is made. Our analytical findings, together with previous reports, reveal only the occasional occurrence of PFCs in migratory biota and vertebrate predators with foraging ranges extending into or north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Geographical contamination patterns observed correspond most strongly with those expected from delivery via hydrospheric transport as governed by the unique oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean. We suggest that hydrospheric transport will form a slow, but primary, input pathway of PFCs to the Antarctic region. Biota foraging south of the ACC are not bioaccumulating detectable PFC burdens as the current inhibits north-south exchange of surface waters.
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified