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

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."


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Source:Queen's University


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