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:3/7/2017)... England , March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , ... chosen by The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to ... across The Trust. The UK,s leading youth charity will ... social campaign results and get a better understanding of the topics ... ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... 2017 Summary This report provides ... KGaA and its partnering interests and activities since 2010. ... Description The Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 report ... one of the world,s leading life sciences companies. ... to ensure inclusion of the most up to date ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... --  Acuant , a leading provider of data capture ... new and core technologies building upon the acquisition of ... desktop Acuant FRM TM facial recognition and match ... manual review of identity documents by accredited professionals. ... most accurate capture software to streamline workflows by securely ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 On ... trading session at 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the Dow Jones ... and the S&P 500 closed at 2,345.96, marginally dropping ... sectors closed in green, 4 sectors finished in red, ... Friday, Stock-Callers.com has initiated reports coverage on the following ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... material that exhibits both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical ... exhibits properties to gently absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCQB: NWBO) (NW ... therapies for solid tumor cancers, today announced that ... it announced last Friday, March 17, 2017. ... investors securities totaling 28,843,692 shares, comprised of 18,843,692 ... shares of Class C Warrants pre-funded at the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)...  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX), a specialty ... today reported financial results for the quarter and ... an update on the company,s clinical development efforts ... are pleased to report that last year was ... Anja Krammer. "We achieved key clinical milestones and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: