Mercury in seabird feathers: Insight on dietary habits and evidence for exposure levels in the western Indian Ocean

Type Article
Date 2007-10
Language English
Author(s) Kojadinovic Jessica1, 2, 3, Bustamante Paco1, Churlaud Carine4, Cosson Richard P.2, Le Corre Matthieu3
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER Univ Rochelle, CNRS, UMR 6217, CRELA, F-17042 Rochelle, France.
2 : Univ Nantes, EMI, EA 2663, F-44322 Nantes, France.
3 : Univ La Reunion, ECOMAR, EA 33, F-97715 St Denis, France.
4 : Univ La Rochelle, CCA, F-17071 La Rochelle 9, France.
Source Science of The Total Environment (0048-9697) (Elsevier), 2007-10 , Vol. 384 , N. 1-3 , P. 194-204
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.05.018
WOS© Times Cited 21
Keyword(s) Tropical islands, Contamination, Bioaccumulation, Mercury, Trophic ecology, Marine birds
Abstract Breast feathers were used to estimate mercury levels in six marine birds nesting in the tropical western Indian Ocean, i.e. Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata), Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris), Audubon Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri bailloni), Barau's Petrel (Pterodroma baraui) and the White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus). Juveniles consistently showed lower plumage mercury than adults. The lowest mean level was noted in juvenile Sooty Terns from the Glorioso Archipelago (0.05 mu g g(-1)). The highest levels were obtained for adult Barau's Petrels from Reunion Island (0.96 mu g g(-1)). An inter-site analysis of Sooty Tern showed higher mercury levels in birds nesting on Juan de Nova Island. Levels were low in comparison with values reported in the plumage of seabirds worldwide. The potential impacts of the size, the type (fish/ cephalopod) and the origin (epi-/meso-pelagic) of prey on mercury intake in birds are discussed. Although the diet composition of individuals within a species appeared to be quite variable, combining results on mercury levels with common knowledge of each species allowed additional information on their dietary and foraging habits to be unraveled. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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