posted on 2022-01-21, 16:02authored byCynthia C. Munoz, Peter Vermeiren
Maternal transfer of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) confronts developing embryos with a pollution legacy and poses conservation concerns due to its potential impacts unto subsequent generations. We conducted a systematic review focussing on: 1) processes of POP maternal transfer, 2) challenges and opportunities to synthesising current knowledge on POP concentrations in eggs and 3) a meta-analysis of patterns in current egg pollution data. Results suggest selective maternal transfer of individual compounds. These relate to biological factors such as the foraging and remigration behaviour, and to the selective mobilization of POPs during vitellogenesis, such as increased diffusion limitation for lipophilic POPs and slower release and higher reabsorption of apolar POPs. A key gap relates to knowledge of further selective toxicokinetics during embryonic development, as research to date has mainly focussed on initial uptake into eggs. Challenges in the synthesis of current data on egg contamination profiles relate to methodological differences, varying analytical approaches, restricted data access and reporting transparency among studies. To increase opportunities in the use of current data, we propose best practice guidelines, and synthesise a database on POP concentrations within sea turtle eggs. The meta-analysis revealed a geographical and taxonomic bias on the West Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, with most studies conducted on green turtles. Concentrations of POPs show temporal patterns related to trends in usage, production, release and persistence in the environment, often with regional patterns. Potentially, trophic level influences POP patterns with higher concentrations in loggerheads compared to other species, but this is confounded by temporal and geographic trends. We argue for more mechanistically process focussed and methodologically comparable research.