Rune Dietz

Rune Dietz
Aarhus University | AU · Department of Bioscience

Professor D.Sc.

About

499
Publications
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16,950
Citations

Publications

Publications (499)
Article
Mercury has become a ubiquitous hazardous element even ending up in pristine areas such as the Arctic, where it biomagnifies and leaves especially top predators vulnerable to potential health effects. Here we investigate total mercury (THg) concentrations and dietary proxies for trophic position and habitat foraging (δ¹⁵N and δ¹³C, respectively) in...
Article
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The chemical industry is the leading sector in the EU in terms of added value. However, contaminants pose a major threat and significant costs to the environment and human health. While EU legislation and international conventions aim to reduce this threat, regulators struggle to assess and manage chemical risks, given the vast number of substances...
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Old lead–zinc (Pb–Zn) mining sites in Greenland have increased the environmental concentration of Pb in local marine organisms, including the shorthorn sculpin. Organ metal concentrations and histopathology have been used in environmental monitoring programs to evaluate metal exposure and subsequent effects in shorthorn sculpins. So far, no study h...
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We investigated trophic dynamics of Hg in the polluted Baltic Archipelago Sea using established trophic magnification (TMFs) and biomagnification factors (BMFs) on a comprehensive set of bird, fish, and invertebrate species. As different ecological and ecophysiological species traits may affect trophic dynamics, we explored the effect of food chain...
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Understanding how environmental and climate change can alter habitat overlap of marine predators has great value for the management and conservation of marine ecosystems. Here, we estimated spatiotemporal changes in habitat suitability and inter‐specific overlap among three marine predators: Baltic gray seals (Halichoerus grypus), harbor seals (Pho...
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Since the last Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) effort to review biological effects of mercury (Hg) on Arctic biota in 2011 and 2018, there has been a considerable number of new Arctic bird studies. This review article provides contemporary Hg exposure and potential health risk for 36 Arctic seabird and shorebird species, represent...
Article
Polar bears are susceptible to climate warming because of their dependence on sea ice, which is declining rapidly. We present the first evidence for a genetically distinct and functionally isolated group of polar bears in Southeast Greenland. These bears occupy sea-ice conditions resembling those projected for the High Arctic in the late 21st centu...
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Arctic Indigenous Peoples are among the most exposed humans when it comes to foodborne mercury (Hg). In response, Hg monitoring and research have been on-going in the circumpolar Arctic since about 1991; this work has been mainly possible through the involvement of Arctic Indigenous Peoples. The present overview was initially conducted in the conte...
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This Editorial presents an overview of the Special Issue on advances in Arctic mercury (Hg) science synthesized from the 2021 assessment of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). Mercury continues to travel to Arctic environments and threaten wildlife and human health in this circumpolar region. Over the last decade, progress has be...
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Accurate diet estimates are necessary to assess trophic interactions and food web dynamics in ecosystems, particularly for apex predators like cetaceans, which can regulate entire food webs. Quantitative fatty acid analysis (QFASA) has been used to estimate the diets of marine predators in the last decade but has yet to be implemented on free-rangi...
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Aim Identify hotspots and areas of high species richness for Arctic marine mammals. Location Circumpolar Arctic. Methods A total of 2115 biologging devices were deployed on marine mammals from 13 species in the Arctic from 2005 to 2019. Getis‐Ord Gi* hotspots were calculated based on the number of individuals in grid cells for each species and fo...
Article
Temporal trend analysis of (total) mercury (THg) concentrations in Arctic biota were assessed as part of the 2021 Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Mercury Assessment. A mixed model including an evaluation of non-linear trends was applied to 110 time series of THg concentrations from Arctic and Subarctic biota. Temporal trends were...
Chapter
Exposure to long-range transported industrial chemicals such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other pollutants such as mercury pose a risk to the overall health and populations of Arctic wildlife and the local Inuits. Since local communities are relying on the same marine food web as marine mammals in the Arctic, it requires a One Health...
Article
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Primordial follicles are important for the reproduction cycle and, therefore, also for the survival of the whole population of a species. Mammals have a large pool of primordial follicles, and it is thought that this pool represents the total number of oocytes. The aim of the present study was to determine the total primordial follicle number of ju...
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There has been a considerable number of reports on Hg concentrations in Arctic mammals since the last Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) effort to review biological effects of the exposure to mercury (Hg) in Arctic biota in 2010 and 2018. Here, we provide an update on the state of the knowledge of health risk associated with Hg conce...
Article
The 2021 Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Mercury (Hg) Assessment is motivated by Arctic populations, and most notably Indigenous Peoples in the region, who are particularly vulnerable to Hg pollution. The objective of this review paper is to answer the following AMAP policy-relevant question: what is the human health impact of Hg...
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We examined spatial variation in total mercury (THg) concentrations in 100 hair samples collected between 2008 and 2016 from 87 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Norwegian (Svalbard Archipelago, western Barents Sea) and Russian Arctic (Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, and Chukchi Sea). We used latitude and longitude of home range centroid for the Norwegi...
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The harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) is the most widely distributed pinniped, occupying a wide variety of habitats and climatic zones across the Northern Hemisphere. Intriguingly, the harbour seal is also one of the most philopatric seals, raising questions as to how it colonised virtually the whole of the Northern Hemisphere. To shed light on the ori...
Article
In the originally published version of this manuscript, the last name of author David Boertmann was inadvertently misspelled as ‘Boetmann’.
Chapter
The study and protection of environmental and human health is complex given the variety of anthropogenic and natural stressors threatening the well-being of exposed organisms. Researchers have turned to wild animals as sentinel species to study the critical questions relating to environmental chemical contamination and potential adverse health effe...
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Time series of contaminants in the Arctic are an important instrument to detect emerging issues and to monitor the effectiveness of chemicals regulation, based on the assumption of a direct...
Article
Using whole mitochondrial DNA sequences from 89 White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) sampled from Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Denmark and Estonia between 1990 and 2018, we investigate the mitogenomic variation within and between countries. We show that there is a substantial population differentiation between the countries, reflecting similar...
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Shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius) has been used as a sentinel species for environmental monitoring, including heavy metal contamination from mining activities. Former lead–zinc (Pb–Zn) mines in Greenland resulted in elevated concentrations of metals, especially Pb, in marine biota. However, the potential accumulation of Pb and effects of t...
Article
Loss of sea ice brought on by climate change affects polar bear Ursus maritimus access to prey. Here we investigated variation in feeding habits of the Baffin Bay (BB) polar bear subpopulation in relation to sea ice, habitat use, season, and demography using hair carbon (δ ¹³ C), nitrogen (δ ¹⁵ N), and sulfur (δ ³⁴ S) stable isotope values and tota...
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The ringed seal is a small phocid seal that has a northern circumpolar distribution. It has long been recognized that body size is variable in ringed seals, and it has been suggested that ecotypes that differ in size exist. This study explores patterns of body size (length and girth) and age-at-maturity across most of the Arctic subspecies’ range u...
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Polonium-210 (²¹⁰Po) is a radionuclide sentinel as it bioaccumulates in marine organisms, thereby being the main contributor to committed dietary doses in seafood consumers. Although seafood and marine mammals are an important part of the traditional Inuit diet, there is a general lack of information on the ²¹⁰Po concentrations in the Greenlandic m...
Article
Killer whales Orcinus orca have a cosmopolitan distribution with a broad diet ranging from fish to marine mammals. In Norway, killer whales are regularly observed feeding on overwintering Norwegian spring-spawning (NSS) herring Clupea harengus inside the fjords. However, their offshore foraging behavior and distribution are less well understood. In...
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Interindividual variation in prey specialization is an essential yet overlooked aspect of wildlife feeding ecology, especially as it relates to intrapopulation variation in exposure to toxic contaminants. Here, we assessed blubber concentrations of an extensive suite of persistent organic pollutants in Icelandic killer whales (Orcinus orca). Polych...
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Determining the proportion of males and females in zooarchaeological assemblages can be used to reconstruct the diversity and severity of past anthropogenic impacts on animal populations, and can also provide valuable biological insights into past animal life-histories, behaviour and demography, including the effects of environmental change. Howeve...
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The ability of animals to respond to changes in their environment is critical to their persistence. In the Arctic, climate change and mercury exposure are two of the most important environmental threats for top predators.1, 2, 3 Rapid warming is causing precipitous sea-ice loss, with consequences on the distribution, composition, and dietary ecolog...
Article
Mercury is a neurotoxic chemical that represents one of the greatest pollution threats to Arctic ecosystem health. Evaluating the direct neurotoxic effects of mercury in free ranging wildlife is challenging, necessitating the use of neurochemical biomarkers to assess potential sub-clinical neurological changes. The objective of this study was to ch...
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Environmental change and increasing levels of human activity are threats to marine mammals in the Arctic. Identifying marine mammal hotspots and areas of high species richness are essential to help guide management and conservation efforts. Herein, space use based on biotelemetric tracking devices deployed on 13 species (ringed seal Pusa hispida ,...
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This introductory chapter to our Environment International VSI does not need an abstract and therefore we just include our recommendations below in order to proceed with the resubmission. Future work should examine waterbirds as food web sentinels of multiple stressors as well as Baltic Sea food web dynamics of hazardous substances and how climate...
Article
Recent advances in environmental analytical chemistry have identified the presence of a large number of chemicals of emerging Arctic concern (CEACs) being transported long range to the region. There has been very limited temporal monitoring of CEACs and it is therefore unknown whether they are of increasing or decreasing concern. Likewise, informat...
Article
Mercury (Hg) exposure may cause a wide range of adverse effects in mammals. A piscivorous apex predator, as the Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) may accumulate and biomagnify heavy metals and pollutants. Here we investigate the Hg burden in 117 otters from Denmark to evaluate Hg concentrations and risks of health effects. Mercury concentrations ranged...
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https://arctox.cnrs.fr/en/home/ Mercury (Hg) is a natural trace element found in high concentrations in top predators, including Arctic seabirds. Most current knowledge about Hg concentrations in Arctic seabirds relates to exposure during the summer breeding period when researchers can easily access seabirds at colonies. However, the few studies f...
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A wide range of species, including marine mammals, seabirds, birds of prey, fish and bivalves, were investigated for potential population health risks resulting from contemporary (post 2000) mercury (Hg) exposure, using novel risk thresholds based on literature and de novo contamination data. The main geographic focus is on the Baltic Sea, while da...
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The liver plays an important role in the metabolism and elimination of endogenic and exogenic lipid-soluble compounds. Multiple studies have shown that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) lead to morphological changes in liver cells. The aim of the present study was therefore to analyse liver changes over time...
Article
Assessing the migratory behaviour of individual and groups of animals is key to understand the function of migration, its evolution, and how it is affected by environment and human activities. In the eastern North Atlantic, killer whales (Orcinus orca) presumably track herring stocks as they migrate between across the region. However, the detailed...
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Wildlife population dynamics are shaped by multiple natural and anthropogenic factors, including predation, competition, stressful life history events, and external environmental stressors such as diseases and pollution. Marine mammals such as gray seals rely on extensive blubber layers for insulation and energy storage, making this tissue critical...
Chapter
Bears have fascinated people since ancient times. The relationship between bears and humans dates back thousands of years, during which time we have also competed with bears for shelter and food. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats, climate change, and illegal trade in their body parts, including t...
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While new chemicals have replaced major toxic legacy contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), knowledge of their current levels and biomagnification potential in Baltic Sea biota is lacking. Therefore, a suite of chemicals of emerging concern, including organophosphate esters (OPEs), short-cha...
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Abstract Arctic top predators are expected to be impacted by increasing temperatures associated with climate change, but the relationship between increasing sea temperatures and population dynamics of Arctic cetaceans remains largely unexplored. Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) are considered to be among the most sensitive of Arctic endemic marine mamm...
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Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the Baltic Sea are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic activities, which affect the overall health of populations. Individuals’ haematologic and biochemistry parameters are known to be linked to a population’s health status and are therefore useful tools for cross-population comparisons and to asses...
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Bone is remodelled constantly through a balance of bone formation and resorption. This process can be affected by various factors such as hormones, vitamins, nutrients and environmental factors, which can create an imbalance resulting in systemic or local bone alteration. The aim of the present study was to analyse the changes in bone mineral densi...
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Blood plasma was collected during 2016–2018 from healthy incubating eiders (Somateria molissima, n = 183) in three Danish colonies, and healthy migrating pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus, n = 427) at their spring roost in Central Norway (Svalbard breeding population) and their novel flyway through the Finnish Baltic Sea (Russian breeding pop...
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The Baltic/Wadden Sea Flyway of common eiders has declined over the past three decades. Multiple factors such as contaminant exposure, global warming, hunting, white-tailed eagle predation, decreased agricultural eutrophication and infectious diseases have been suggested to explain the decline. We collected information on body mass, mercury (Hg) co...
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The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is a small marine predator with a high conservation status in Europe and the USA. To protect the species effectively, it is crucial to under-stand its movement patterns and how the distribution of intensively used foraging areas can be predicted from environmental conditions. Here, we investigated the influe...
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The grey seal became locally extinct in the southern Baltic Sea, Danish Straits and Kattegat in the early 1900s after prolonged culling campaigns. Here, we combine national monitoring and anecdotal data from Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Poland to report on the grey seal’s recolonisation of those areas and the initial reestablishment of breeding col...
Article
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a class of organohalogenated compounds of environmental concern due to similar characteristics as the well-studied legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that typically show environmental persistence, biomagnification and toxicity. Nevertheless, PFAS are still poorly regulated internationally and in many a...
Article
Assessing polar bear (Ursus maritimus) immune function in relation to environmental stressors, including habitat change, nutritional stress, pathogen prevalence, and pollution, has been identified as critical for improved understanding of the species' health. The objectives of this study were two-fold: 1) to assess the role of climate-associated fa...
Technical Report
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The harbour seal (Phoca vitulina, L 1758) is the most common Danish seal species and can be found in most Danish waters. It is frequently observed in rivers and streams all around the Northern Hemisphere. Harbour seals naturally swim up large freshwater streams in search for food. This has caused conflicts with anglers fishing for trout and salmon,...
Article
Sled dog arctic adaptations go far back Dogs have been used for sledding in the Arctic as far back as ∼9500 years ago. However, the relationships among the earliest sled dogs, other dog populations, and wolves are unknown. Sinding et al. sequenced an ancient sled dog, 10 modern sled dogs, and an ancient wolf and analyzed their genetic relationships...
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Here we review contaminant exposure and related health effects in six selected Baltic key species. Sentinel species included are common eider, white-tailed eagle, harbour porpoise, harbour seal, ringed seal and grey seal. The review represents the first attempt of summarizing available information and baseline data for these biomonitoring key speci...
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Environmental exposure to bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters has received considerable attention due to the ubiquitous occurrence of these contaminants in the environment and their potential adverse health effects. The occurrence of bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters is well established in human populations, but data is scarce for wildlife,...
Article
Temporal trends of total mercury (THg) were examined in female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair (n = 199) from the Barents Sea in 1995-2016. In addition, hair values of stable isotopes (n = 190-197) of carbon (δ13C), sulfur (δ34S), and nitrogen (δ15N), and information on breeding status, body condition (BCI) and age was obtained. Stable isotope va...
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Understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of legacy organochlorines (OCs) is often difficult because monitoring practices differ among studies, fragmented study periods, and unaccounted confounding by ecological variables. We therefore reconstructed long-term (1939–2015) and large-scale (West Greenland, Norway, and central Sweden) trends of major l...