Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Nielsen, Clayton


Flame retardants (FRs) are widely used in a variety of consumer products, including electronics, textiles, vehicles, furniture foams, and children’s toys. Many of these chemicals are halogenated compounds that are persistent in the environment over long periods of time and are known or suspected endocrine disruptors. As a result, FRs may have a variety of negative health effects on humans and wildlife. Following the discontinuation of commercial polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) mixtures, a variety of alternative FRs have been developed and employed. In comparison with legacy FRs, relatively little is known about the ability of these emerging FRs to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in various systems. The primary objective of my dissertation was to better understand the contamination status of both legacy and emerging FR in the biota of the northwestern Atlantic Specifically my objectives were to (1) identify and quantify legacy and emerging FRs in high trophic level predator species (sharks) of the northwestern Atlantic, (2) determine Tropic Magnification Factors (TMFs) for legacy and emerging FRs within the same food web, and (3) evaluate the maternal transfer of a variety of brominated and chlorinated FRs in viviparous Atlantic sharks.




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