Comparison of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in feathers in bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and comparison with common eider (Somateria mollissima), glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba), and tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) from the Aleutian Chain of Alaska

Division of Life Sciences, Rutgers University, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8082, USA.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (Impact Factor: 1.68). 05/2009; 152(1-4):357-67. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-008-0321-7
Source: PubMed


There is an abundance of field data for levels of metals from a range of places, but relatively few from the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. In this paper we examine the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in feathers from common eiders (Somateria mollissima), glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens), pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba), tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) from the Aleutian Chain of Alaska. Our primary objective was to test the hypothesis that there are no trophic levels relationships for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium among these five species of birds breeding in the marine environment of the Aleutians. There were significant interspecific differences in all metal levels. As predicted bald eagles had the highest levels of arsenic, chromium, lead, and manganese, but puffins had the highest levels of selenium, and pigeon guillemot had higher levels of mercury than eagles (although the differences were not significant). Common eiders, at the lowest trophic level had the lowest levels of some metals (chromium, mercury and selenium). However, eiders had higher levels than all other species (except eagles) for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and manganese. Levels of lead were higher in breast than in wing feathers of bald eagles. Except for lead, there were no significant differences in metal levels in feathers of bald eagles nesting on Adak and Amchitka Island; lead was higher on Adak than Amchitka. Eagle chicks tended to have lower levels of manganese than older eagles.

1 Follower
86 Reads
  • Source
    • "Although both great and blue tits occur sympatrically, they may vary in their vulnerability to metal accumulation. This may be related to differences in trophic niches, diet, and metabolic rates (Burger and Gochfeld 2009; Eeva et al. 2009; Berglund et al. 2011). Few studies exist that analyze and compare heavy-metal concentrations between these two species (Eens et al. 1999; Dauwe et al. 2002). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined heavy-metal concentrations in feathers of nestling great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus at two different sites (urban parkland vs. deciduous forest) located in the Łódź agglomeration in relation to interyear variation. We found that tit species did not differ significantly in lead and cadmium concentrations. Zinc concentration was significantly higher in blue tits. We also found that lead and cadmium levels in blue tit nestlings and the level of lead in great tit nestlings were higher in the parkland site than in the woodland site. We explain habitat variation in heavy-metal concentrations in feathers of nestlings by different levels of contamination at study sites. For both tit species, significant variation in heavy-metal amounts accumulated by nestlings was found between years with the lowest value in a year with the lowest value of rainfall. We suggest that the interyear variation may be accounted for by differences in rainfall, thus influencing quantities of trace elements bioavailable in the environment.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
  • Source
    • "Both tissues were dried in an oven for 24 h at 105°C and weighed (±0.1 g). Body feathers are known to be the most representative of the plumage as a whole and do not reflect molt sequence as do flight feathers (Burger and Gochfeld 2009). All metal concentrations (lg/ g) in feathers, livers and stomach contents were estimated on a dry weight (dw) basis. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In birds, metal contaminants in feathers are influenced by prey concentrations and environmental quality. In Black-tailed Gull chicks, Cd, Pb and Cu concentrations were strongly correlated between feathers and stomach contents. Between feathers and livers, Pb, Zn and Fe concentrations were significantly correlated. Cd concentrations were within the range of other seabirds and within the background level for bird feathers (<2 μg/g dw). At the lighthouse, eight chicks exceeded the background for Pb level in feathers (>4 μg/g dw). Elevated Pb concentrations might be attributed to ingestion of paint-based chips and natural (soil and rocks) sources. There is evidence that the analyzed birds suffered from acute toxicity, including high levels of pecking from conspecifics and increased mortality from elevated Pb levels. It seems likely that these birds might experience negative health effects from this increased Pb exposure. As a result, Black-tailed Gull chick feathers are a very useful monitoring tool for assessing Cd, Pb and Cu contamination. Essential elements such as Fe, Zn, Mn and Cu were all within the acceptable range of normal concentrations for seabird species including gulls and may be maintained by normal homeostatic mechanisms.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
  • Source
    • "Kim et al. 2009). Burger and Gochfeld (2009) have studied the levels of several metals, including cadmium, mercury and lead, in eggs and feathers in different species of marine birds and noted significant differences among species. Mercury exhibited the greatest interspecific difference, for other metals they were generally less than one order of magnitude. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Published results concerning metal levels in feathers of birds of prey were listed and evaluated. Mercury concentrations have been studied most and the background values normally vary between 0.1 and 5 mg/kg dry weight the highest concentrations being in birds from aquatic food chains. Pollution causes elevated levels of mercury in feathers. The concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc show reasonable variation between species, areas and time periods. Feathers of birds of prey have proved to be good indicators of the status of environmental heavy metal pollution. Special attention should be paid to clean sampling and preparation of samples. Interpretation of the results requires knowledge on food habit, molting and migration patterns of the species. Several species representing different food chains should be included in comprehensive monitoring surveys. Chick feathers reflect most reliably local conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Ecotoxicology
Show more