Dataset includes dry weight concentrations of 18 toxic, essential and trace elements quantified in the livers of otters that have been found dead in England and Wales between 2007 and 2009 inclusive. For each otter the month and year found, age, sex, body condition coefficient and location where the otter was found are given. Most elements were measured in 157 samples that came from the years 2007 to 2009. Residues of Pb were only measured in 107 samples from 2007 and 2008. 17 livers from 2009 were analysed for Ag. The data are used to quantify the magnitude of exposure to these elements in otters in relation to studies from across Europe and the likely toxicological significance of the residues found. This work has been carried out within the monitoring programme of the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) (https://pbms.ceh.ac.uk ), a long-term, national monitoring scheme that quantifies the concentrations of contaminants in the livers and eggs of selected species of predatory and fish-eating birds in Britain. The PBMS monitors the levels of contaminants to determine how and why they vary between species and regions, how they are changing over time, and the effects that they may have on individual birds and on their populations. The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme is run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). This work was carried out in collaboration with the Cardiff University Otter Project.
Publication date: 2015-10-25
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Carcasses were stored frozen at -18 degrees C prior to examination by the Cardiff University Otter Project (http://www.otterproject.cf.ac.uk/ ). During a post mortem examination the age (classified as adult, sub-adult and juvenile) and sex of the animal were determined. In addition a range of biometric observations were recorded including body length and weight which were used to determine the body condition coefficient (K) according to Kruuk and Conroy (1991). A sub-sample of the liver was taken and stored at -18 degrees C prior to analysis by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. A 1g wet weight sample of each liver was microwave-digested in 10ml of 70% J.T.Baker ULTREX II grade nitric acid (Avantor Performance Materials, London, UK) in a microwave digestion system (200 degrees C for 15 minutes). Digested samples were then made up to 25ml using de-ionized water (grade), then further diluted ten-fold, using de-ionized water, immediately prior to analysis by inductively couple plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). The ICPMS was pre-conditioned with 10% (v/v) nitric acid until the background signal stabilised and a correction factor was applied to resultant Ag concentration to account for signal interferences from zirconium oxide. Moisture content of the sample was determined by drying a 0.5g sub-sample at 70 degrees C for 48 hours. Dry weight concentrations were calculated based upon the wet weight of the analysed sample and the moisture content of the sub-sample.