Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Abstract. Thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) originating from breeding colonies in the Canadian Arctic were collected on their wintering grounds off the coast of Newfoundland. Murres had been previously banded such that the age of each bird could be determined upon collection. This allowed us to explore the possible relationships between age and contaminant levels in the thick-billed murre. Samples of breast muscle were analyzed for organochlorines (chlorobenzenes, hexachlorocyclohexanes, DDTs, chlordanes, mirex, dieldrin, and PCBs) and metals (selenium, cadmium, mercury, and lead). Levels of both organochlorine and metal residues were sufficiently low so that toxic effects were unlikely. First-year birds contained lower levels of DDTs, mirex, dieldrin, and PCBs compared with older birds, reflecting lower levels of contamination of these compounds in food chains at breeding colonies located at higher latitudes. Higher levels of chemical residues in older birds may reflect greater direct input of those organochlorines into the wintering grounds via the highly contaminated St. Lawrence River. Levels of chlorobenzenes, hexachlorocyclohexanes, and chlordanes, which reflect atmospheric deposition, were not detected at higher levels in older birds. Of the metals, only cadmium was detected at higher levels in older birds.
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