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Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data for: 'Ecotoxicoparasitology of the gastrointestinal tracts of pinnipeds: effect of parasites on bioavailability of total mercury (THg)'

August 16, 2018

Parasites, such as acanthocephalans, cestodes, and some species of nematodes acquire nutrients from the lumen contents within the host gastrointestinal (GI) tract. For ubiquitous toxicants like mercury, both the host species and parasites are potentially exposed. The focus of this study was to determine if there is an effect of parasites on the dietary availability and therefore exposure to mercury within pinniped hosts. We measured total mercury concentrations and stable isotope compositions in select host tissues, parasites, and GI lumen contents from 22 California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), 15 ringed seals (Phoca hispida), and 4 spotted seals (Phoca largha). This dataset includes stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for the tissues and parasites of California sea lions and ice seals from California and Alaska coastal waters necropsied and harvested in 2009-2010 respectively. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data are useful for clarifying trophic relationships in host-parasite systems. These data were used in tandem with tissue mercury concentrations to explore the role of gastrointestinal parasites on pinniped mercury exposure. There are two files in this dataset: 1) A comma delimited machine-readable file (*.csv) that represents the data dictionary, and 2) a comma delimited machine-readable file (*.csv) containing the data.