Hg and Se in Organs of Three Cetacean Species from the Murcia Coastline (Mediterranean Sea)

  • E. Martínez-LópezEmail author
  • J. Peñalver
  • L. Lara
  • A. J. García-Fernández


We determinated Hg and Se concentrations in liver, kidney, brain, lung and muscle of five bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), four common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and four Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) stranded along the Murcia coast, Southeast Spain, in order to evaluate the risk of Hg toxicity. Hg concentrations showed similar concentrations to other individuals in the Mediterranean Sea with the same length in the same period. We observed a positive correlation of Hg and Se in liver (r = 0.948, p < 0.001) and kidney (r = 0.939; p = 0.001) and ratio the Se/Hg molar was higher than 1 in most cases. Our results suggest that the protective effects of Se against Hg toxicity occur in cetaceans. However, we detected levels of Hg described as responsible liver damage and neurotoxicological effects so other tools, as biochemical markers, should be included. Besides, more studies are needed to evaluate the risk of Hg exposure in dolphins from Murcia coastline.


Mercury Selenium Cetacean Mediterranean Sea 



The authors are greatly indebted to the Seneca Foundation for financing the MASCA 2014 project (19481/PI/14), to the staff of “El Valle” Wildlife Recovery Center for the careful sampling work and, to the LAYSA Lab for the accurate analysis of the samples. Thanks to Eddie Benson to revise the English grammar.

Supplementary material

128_2019_2697_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Martínez-López
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • J. Peñalver
    • 1
    • 3
  • L. Lara
    • 4
  • A. J. García-Fernández
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Area of Toxicology, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of VeterinaryUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratory of Toxicology, Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia (IMIB-Arrixaca)University of MurciaMurciaSpain
  3. 3.Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (CARM)MurciaSpain
  4. 4.“El Valle” Wildlife Recovery Center (CARM)MurciaSpain

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