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Trophic ecology drives contaminant concentrations within a tropical seabird community
Sebastiano, M.; Bustamante, P.; Eulaers, I.; Malarvannan, G.; Mendez-Fernandez, P.; Churlaud, C.; Blévin, P.; Hauselmann, A.; Covaci, A.; Eens, M.; Costantini, D.; Chastel, O. (2017). Trophic ecology drives contaminant concentrations within a tropical seabird community. Environ. Pollut. 227: 183-193.
In: Environmental Pollution. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0269-7491; e-ISSN 1873-6424, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Trace elements; Persistent organic pollutants; Stable isotopes; FrenchGuiana; Mercury

Authors  Top 
  • Sebastiano, M., more
  • Bustamante, P.
  • Eulaers, I., more
  • Malarvannan, G., more
  • Mendez-Fernandez, P.
  • Churlaud, C.
  • Blévin, P.
  • Hauselmann, A.
  • Covaci, A., more
  • Eens, M., more
  • Costantini, D., more
  • Chastel, O.

    To support environmental management programs, there is an urgent need to know about the presence and understand the dynamics of major contaminants in seabird communities of key marine ecosystems. In this study, we investigated the concentrations and trophodynamics of trace elements in six seabird species and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in three seabird species breeding on Grand Connétable Island (French Guiana), an area where the increase in human population and mining activities has raised concerns in recent years. Red blood cell Hg concentrations in adults were the highest in Magnificent frigatebirds Fregata magnificens (median: 5.6 μg g−1 dw; range: 3.8–7.8 μg g−1dw) and lowest in Sooty terns Onychoprion fuscatus (median: 0.9 μg g−1 dw; range: 0.6–1.1 μg g−1 dw). Among POPs, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE) was the most abundant compound in plasma of Cayenne terns Thalasseus sandvicensis (median: 1100 pg g−1 ww; range: 160 ± 5100 pg g−1ww), while polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were the most abundant compound class in plasma of Magnificent frigatebirds (median: 640 pg g−1 ww; range 330 ± 2700 pg g−1 ww). While low intensity of POP exposure does not appear to pose a health threat to this seabird community, Hg concentration in several adults Laughing gulls Leucophaeus atricilla and Royal terns Thalasseus maximus, and in all Magnificent frigatebirds was similar or higher than that of high contaminated seabird populations. Furthermore, nestling red blood cells also contained Hg concentrations of concern, and further studies should investigate its potential health impact in this seabird community. Differences in adult trophic ecology of the six species explained interspecific variation in exposure to trace element and POPs, while nestling trophic ecology provides indications about the diverse feeding strategies adopted by the six species, with the consequent variation in exposure to contaminants.

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