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Journal Articles Science of the Total Environment Year : 2021

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

Hálfdán Helgi Helgason
  • Function : Author
Gregory J Robertson
  • Function : Author
Sébastien Descamps
Françoise Amélineau
Jóhannis Danielsen
  • Function : Author
Rune Dietz
  • Function : Author
Kyle Elliott
  • Function : Author
Kjell Einar Erikstad
  • Function : Author
Igor Eulaers
Alexey Ezhov
  • Function : Author
Michelle G Fitzsimmons
  • Function : Author
Maria Gavrilo
  • Function : Author
Elena Golubova
  • Function : Author
Scott Hatch
  • Function : Author
Nicholas P Huffeldt
  • Function : Author
Dariusz Jakubas
  • Function : Author
Alexander Kitaysky
  • Function : Author
Geir Helge Systad
  • Function : Author
Hálfdán Helgi Helgason
  • Function : Author
Kjell Einar Erikstad
  • Function : Author
Yann Kolbeinsson
  • Function : Author
Yuri Krasnov
  • Function : Author
Svein-Håkon Lorentsen
  • Function : Author
Erlend Lorentzen
  • Function : Author
Mark L Mallory
  • Function : Author
Benjamin Merkel
Flemming Ravn Merkel
  • Function : Author
William Montevecchi
  • Function : Author
Anders Mosbech
Bergur Olsen
  • Function : Author
Rachael A Orben
  • Function : Author
Allison Patterson
  • Function : Author
Jennifer Provencher
  • Function : Author
Flemming Ravn Merkel
  • Function : Author
Tone Kristin Reiertsen
  • Function : Author
Isabeau Pratte
  • Function : Author
Kristin Reiertsen
  • Function : Author
Heather Renner
  • Function : Author
Nora Rojek
  • Function : Author
Marc Romano
  • Function : Author
Hallvard Strøm
  • Function : Author
Helge Systad
  • Function : Author
Akinori Takahashi
Jean-Baptiste Thiebot
  • Function : Author
Alexis P Will
  • Function : Author
Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas
  • Function : Author
Jérôme Fort

Abstract

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 5.00 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.

Domains

Ecotoxicology
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Dates and versions

hal-02949049 , version 1 (25-09-2020)

Identifiers

Cite

Céline Albert, Hálfdán Helgi Helgason, Maud Brault-Favrou, Gregory J Robertson, Sébastien Descamps, et al.. Seasonal variation of mercury contamination in Arctic seabirds: a pan- arctic assessment. Science of the Total Environment, 2021, 750, pp.142201. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142201⟩. ⟨hal-02949049⟩
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