The main objective of this study was to evaluate the contamination by mercury (Hg), methylmercury (Me-Hg),
cadmium (Cd), selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) in dolphins stranded on the French
The distributions of these contaminants in the organs of dolphins have also been studied. Overall, contamination levels
varied according to the following sequence: liver > kidney > lung > muscle, except for cadmium (kidney > liver > lung >
Size and sex of animals were also considered. Young dolphins were less impacted with trace elements than adults, except
for copper. Among the studied parameters, the most important appeared to be the size of mammals. In addition, in the
case of mercury and selenium, the sex of mammals seemed to be also relevant.
The correlations between the concentrations of trace elements suggest the existence of detoxification processes.
Since 1990s, using dolphins for tracing marine pollution, a slight reduction in the burden of the considered trace elements
could be noted.