ZooNotes (2019)


During the last few years, the Western Black Sea coast has documented increase in the number of stranded marine mammals, particularly the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). This species is a subject to threats such as exposure to contaminants, fishery by-catch and introduced new marine species. The aim of this study was to analyse spatial and age trends in bone metal concentration in harbour porpoises from the Western Black Sea Coast. Selected heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd and Ni) were measured in bones of 33 harbour porpoises stranded along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast from 2017. Spatially, we found higher metal levels in the harbour porpoises stranded in the Northern region compared with those from Southern region. The effect of aging was evident only for Zn content – the levels were higher in juveniles than in adults. The obtained results suggested that heavy metal contamination represent an important threat encountered by harbour porpoises.