Organochlorine contaminant and retinoid levels in blubber of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) off northwestern Spain
The effect of age, sex, nutritive condition and organochlorine concentration on blubber retinoid concentrations was examined in 74 common dolphins incidentally caught off northwestern Spain. Age and blubber lipid content were strong determinants of the retinoid concentrations in males, while these variables did not account for the variation found in females. Retinoids were positively correlated with organochlorines in males and negatively in females. However, pollution levels were moderate and likely to be below threshold levels above that a toxicological response is to be expected. Thus, a cause–effect relationship between organochlorine and retinoid concentrations could not be properly established, and the observed correlation may be the result of an independent association of the two variables with age. Further research on the influence of the best predictor variables on retinoid dynamics is required to implement the use of retinoids as biomarkers of pollutant exposure in cetaceans.