Navigation Links
Coastal birds carry toxic ocean metals inland
Date:5/25/2010

A collaborative research team led by Queen's University biologists has found that potent metals like mercury and lead, ingested by Arctic seabirds feeding in the ocean, end up in the sediment of polar ponds.

"Birds feeding on different diets will funnel different 'cocktails' of metal contaminants from the ocean back to terrestrial ecosystems, which can then affect other living organisms," says lead author Neal Michelutti, a research scientist at Queen's Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL).

The study will be published on-line the week of May 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

The team collected sediment cores from two ponds on a small island in the Canadian Arctic that is home to the nests of two kinds of seabirds: Arctic terns, which feed primarily on fish, and common eider ducks which feed mainly on mollusks. The researchers analyzed the pond sediment for metals and other indicators of the birds' activity.

They found significant differences between the samples that aligned with the birds' diets. There were higher concentrations of metals such as mercury and cadmium in the sites inhabited by terns, while the nearby eider site recorded higher amounts of lead, manganese, and aluminum. The patterns of metals in the sediment cores matched those recorded in the different bird species' tissues.

Queen's biology professor John Smol says the findings can be applied to other locations. "The High Arctic is an excellent 'natural laboratory' to undertake such studies, due to the lack of local industries," notes Dr. Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and winner of the 2004 NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist. "However, the presence of seabirds on every continent suggests similar processes are operating along coastlines worldwide.

"Our concern is that these areas of elevated metals and other contaminants occur exactly where biological activity is greatest," he adds.

"The seabirds are obviously not directly to blame for the elevated metal concentrations in the ponds," says team member Jules Blais, a biology professor from the University of Ottawa. "They are simply carrying out their natural behaviours and lifecycles, but have become unwitting vectors of pollutants in an increasingly industrial age."


'/>"/>
Contact: Nancy Dorrance
nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca
613-533-2869
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Low oxygen in coastal waters impairs fish reproduction
2. Acid rain has a disproportionate impact on coastal waters
3. Springer will publish Journal of Coastal Conservation
4. Abel to receive posthumous Ocean and Coastal Leadership award
5. Resilience concepts poised to aid management of coastal marine ecosystems
6. Generalist bacteria discovered in coastal waters may be more flexible than known before
7. Bad news for coastal ocean: less fish out, means more nitrogen in
8. River plants may play major role in health of ocean coastal waters
9. Scientists show that streams are critical to preservation of oceanic coastal zones
10. Small streams mitigate human influence on coastal ecosystems
11. NOAA reports coastal waters show decline in contaminants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Coastal birds carry toxic ocean metals inland
(Date:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong ... identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching ... and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security ... ... A research team led by ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... BioMedGPS ... the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s US ... absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical applications. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first ... eye at a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance ... Plum Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Georgia (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing ... taking the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in ... greenovative startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
Breaking Biology Technology: