Seasonal variation of mercury contamination in Arctic seabirds: A pan-Arctic assessment

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  • Céline Albert, Universite de La Rochelle
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  • Hálfdán Helgi Helgason, Norwegian Polar Institute
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  • Maud Brault-Favrou, Universite de La Rochelle
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  • Gregory J. Robertson, Wildlife Research Division
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  • Sébastien Descamps, Norwegian Polar Institute
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  • Françoise Amélineau, Universite de Montpellier
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  • Jóhannis Danielsen, The Faroese Marine Research Institute
  • ,
  • Rune Dietz
  • Kyle Elliott, McGill University
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  • Kjell Einar Erikstad, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
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  • Igor Eulaers, Aarhus Universitet
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  • Alexey Ezhov, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Michelle G. Fitzsimmons, Wildlife Research Division
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  • Maria Gavrilo, Association Maritime Heritage, RU-168000
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  • Elena Golubova, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • David Grémillet, Universite de Montpellier, UCT, Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé
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  • Scott Hatch, Institute for Seabird Research and Conservation
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  • Nicholas P. Huffeldt
  • Dariusz Jakubas, University of Gdansk
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  • Alexander Kitaysky, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Yann Kolbeinsson, Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre
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  • Yuri Krasnov, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Svein Håkon Lorentsen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
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  • Erlend Lorentzen, Norwegian Polar Institute
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  • Mark L. Mallory, Acadia University
  • ,
  • Benjamin Merkel, Norwegian Polar Institute
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  • Flemming Ravn Merkel
  • William Montevecchi, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • ,
  • Anders Mosbech
  • Bergur Olsen, The Faroese Marine Research Institute
  • ,
  • Rachael A. Orben, Oregon State University
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  • Allison Patterson, McGill University
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  • Jennifer Provencher, Environment Canada
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  • Christine Plumejeaud, Universite de La Rochelle
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  • Isabeau Pratte, Acadia University
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  • Tone Kristin Reiertsen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
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  • Heather Renner, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
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  • Nora Rojek, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
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  • Marc Romano, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
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  • Hallvard Strøm, Norwegian Polar Institute
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  • Geir Helge Systad, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
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  • Akinori Takahashi, National Institute of Polar Research
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  • Jean Baptiste Thiebot, National Institute of Polar Research
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  • Thorkell Lindberg Thórarinsson, Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre
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  • Alexis P. Will, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas, University of Gdansk
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  • Paco Bustamante, Universite de La Rochelle, Institut Universitaire de France
  • ,
  • Jérôme Fort, Universite de La Rochelle

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 focused on winter have shown higher Hg concentrations during the non-breeding period than breeding period in several tissues. Hence, improving knowledge about Hg exposure during the non-breeding period is crucial to understanding the threats and risks encountered by these species year-round. We used feathers of nine migratory alcid species occurring at high latitudes to study bird Hg exposure during both the breeding and non-breeding periods. Overall, Hg concentrations during the non-breeding period were ~3 times higher than during the breeding period. In addition, spatial differences were apparent within and between the Atlantic and Pacific regions. While Hg concentrations during the non-breeding period were ~9 times and ~3 times higher than during the breeding period for the West and East Atlantic respectively, Hg concentrations in the Pacific during the non-breeding period were only ~1.7 times higher than during the breeding period. In addition, individual Hg concentrations during the non-breeding period for most of the seabird colonies were above 5 μg g−1 dry weight (dw), which is considered to be the threshold at which deleterious effects are observed, suggesting that some breeding populations might be vulnerable to non-breeding Hg exposure. Since wintering area locations, and migration routes may influence seasonal Hg concentrations, it is crucial to improve our knowledge about spatial ecotoxicology to fully understand the risks associated with Hg contamination in Arctic seabirds.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer142201
TidsskriftScience of the total Environment
Vol/bind750
ISSN0048-9697
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2021

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