Navigation Links
Industrial contaminants spread by seabirds in High Arctic, new Canadian study shows

Seabirds are the surprising culprits in delivering pollutants ?through their guano ?to seemingly pristine northern ecosystems, a new Canadian study shows.

The most common form of wildlife in the Arctic, seabirds are responsible for transporting most of the human-made contaminants to some coastal ecosystems, the researchers found. "The effect is to elevate concentrations of pollutants such as mercury and DDT to as much as 60 times that of areas not influenced by seabird populations," says team member John Smol, a biology professor at Queen's University and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change.

The multidisciplinary study, led by Dr. Jules Blais, professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Ottawa, will be published July 15 in the journal Science.

Other team members are Marianne Douglas from the University of Toronto, D.McMahon and Linda Kimpe from the University of Ottawa, Bronwyn Keatley from Queen's University, and Mark Mallory from the Canadian Wildlife Service (Iqaluit).

Calling it a "boomerang" effect, Dr Blais says: "These contaminants had been washed into the ocean, where we generally assumed they were no longer affecting terrestrial ecosystems. Our study shows that sea birds, which feed in the ocean but then come back to land, are returning not only with food for their young but with contaminants as well. The contaminants accumulate in their bodies and are released on land."

The study took place at Cape Vera on northern Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic, far from industrial and agricultural sources of pollutants. However, chemicals are emitted into the air and oceans from the populated parts of the globe, and are transported by air and ocean currents toward cold areas like the Arctic.

"Some chemicals will build up in the food webs that comprise northern traditional diets," says Ms Kimpe. "As a result, some of our northern Canadian populations are among the most mercury and PCB-expose d people on the globe."

Dr. Mallory has led a team of researchers studying the Cape Vera colony of about 10,000 breeding pairs of birds called northern fulmars. The fulmars nest on the high cliffs, which are ringed by a series of freshwater ponds at their base. Although environmental monitoring in High Arctic locations is often very difficult due to logistical difficulties, lake sediments archive important information on environmental changes.

"Lakes slowly accumulate sediments, and incorporated in these sediments is an archive of past environmental changes, much like pages in a book," says Dr. Douglas, the Canada Research Chair in Global Change. The team analyzed contaminants from the sediments of the shallow ponds that ringed the base of the cliffs, as monitors of past contaminant inputs.

Noting that Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and seabirds are typically the dominant wildlife found in these coastal ecosystems, Dr. Blais says: "Most of Canada's coastline is at our northern fringe, and northern aboriginal communities rely on these ecosystems as a source of nutrition, economic development, traditional customs, and culture.

"We now have evidence that seabirds can concentrate industrial contaminants in coastal areas to levels that can be affecting those ecosystems."


Source:Queen's University

Related biology news :

1. A silent pandemic: Industrial chemicals are impairing the brain development of children worldwide
2. Bird brains shrink from exposure to contaminants
3. A new portable biosensor detects traces of contaminants in food more quickly and cheaply
4. Anti-bacterial additive widespread in U.S. waterways
5. HIV-1 spread through six transmission lines in the UK
6. Reservoirs may accelerate the spread of invasive aquatic species, researchers say
7. Undesirable expatriates: Preventing the spread of invasive animals
8. Nanobacteria in clouds could spread disease, scientists claim
9. Rabies spread speeds up
10. New understanding of cell movement may yield ways to brake cancers spread
11. VCU Massey Cancer Center study shows enzyme linked to spread of breast cancer cells
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/20/2015)... Connecticut , November 20, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... CEO, Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on ... interview will air on this weekend on Bloomberg ... Latin America . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015  Based ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 ... Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award ... product line catering to the needs of the market ... the product line meets and expands on customer base ...
(Date:11/19/2015)...  Although some 350 companies are actively involved in ... companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, ... share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according ... Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... by one company and only a handful of companies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HILLS, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... as the recipient of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, ... golf through his or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: