Coastal management: contaminants in marine mammals

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2011•11•24    16:00 - 17:00

    On 24 November 2011, the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) will organize a seminar in its Managing Coasts in a Changing World Series, on “Persistent Contaminants in Marine Mammals: Trends and Patterns”.

    Marine mammals accumulate high concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) because of their high fat content and because many species occupy the very top of the marine food chain. In some areas of the world, such as in northern Canada, POPs that accumulate in marine mammals can impact human health as a result of the consumption of “country foods” by Indigenous peoples.

    Monitoring of marine mammals provides a window into global trends in POPs concentrations that are occurring as a result of changes in climate, the use of industrial and agri-chemicals, and reduced biodiversity in the oceans. In this presentation, Dr. Chris Metcalfe will present his research experience with contaminants in marine mammals from various locations around the world, as well as data generated by other researchers working in this field. This presentation will be of interest to those who want to know more about toxic chemicals in the environment, as well as contaminant trends and the potential impacts of POPs in marine mammals.

    About the speaker

    Dr. Chris Metcalfe is Professor, Environmental and Resource Studies Program and Director, Institute for Watershed Science Trent University, Peterborough. He has extensive experience  both in determining the environmental effects of contaminants on marine species and environments, and in water quality issues in countries with emerging and developing economies, including Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba and Indonesia. In 2010, Dr. Metcalfe was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow with UNU-INWEH in Hamilton, Canada, where he has a leadership role in directing international projects within the Water – Health Nexus.

    About the Managing Coasts in a Changing World seminar series

    Coastal ecosystems are severely stressed in many parts of the world as a result of overpopulation, intense coastal development, urbanisation, spiralling resource use, pollution, and spread of invasive species. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these stressors and is considered by many to be one of the most important challenges facing the world in the 21st century. Considering that the majority of people reside in coastal areas, the need for proactive action to adapt to climate change is ever more pressing. An urgent need exists to gain a better understanding of climate change impacts on coastal areas, how to realign current management practices and how to develop effective adaptation strategies. The Coastal Ecosystems Programme of UNU- INWEH is pleased to host a series of seminars given by experts based in southern Ontario on topics relating to coastal environmental science and management in the face of climate change.

    For further information and registration details, see the UNU-INWEH website.

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