Calif scientists use sea mammals to make toxic map

MOSS LANDING, Calif. (AP) — California marine scientists are collecting samples from sea mammals around the state to in an effort to create a map of toxic hot spots.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1964yg1 ) that Marine Mammal Center researchers plan to use 10 years of data collected from the stranded sea lions, seals and whales its saved to create a "disease map" of the coastal environment.

Stephanie Hughes, a marine scientist who studies disease in seals, says the creatures are "samplers for the environment."

Seals and other marine mammals live near humans and eat a lot of the same seafood. They store contaminants from the food in their blubber.

Blubber samples show different contaminants depending on the area -- agriculture pesticides in Monterey Bay or flame retardants in San Francisco Bay.

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Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com

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