Mercury in feathers of Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) chicks in relation to age, hatching order, growth, and sampling dates

Goutner, V., Furness, R.W. and Papakostas, G. (2001) Mercury in feathers of Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) chicks in relation to age, hatching order, growth, and sampling dates. Environmental Pollution, 111(1), pp. 107-115. (doi: 10.1016/S0269-7491(99)00329-2)

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We studied the relationships between mercury content of Squacco Heron (<i>Ardeola ralloides</i>) chick body-feathers and nestling age, hatching order (seniors-juniors) and growth parameters, and the date of feather sampling in the Aries Delta, northern Greece, in 1993 (n = 75 chicks) and 1994 (n = 80). Mercury levels were not significantly correlated with chick age in either year of the study. Most of the variability in mercury (90%) was found among broods, attributable to differential prey selection and/or foraging habitat and patch utilization by parents. Within broods, juniors had significantly higher mercury loads than seniors in 1993, but there was no significant difference between the two in 1994. Correlations of nestling weight and linear measurements corrected for chick age and mercury concentrations were never significant and explained small amounts of variability in chick growth. However, linear measurements corrected for age were significantly higher among seniors in 1993, when those nestlings had lower mercury loads than their siblings. Mercury levels were unaffected by the date of feather collection in 1993, but exhibited a significant increase over time in 1994. This can be attributed to a shift towards more highly contaminated habitats and prey types by foraging parents, resulting from seasonal changes in water level and vegetation cover in important foraging habitats. Feather collection from Squacco Heron nestlings late in the breeding season seems to be an appropriate method for biomonitoring mercury pollution in the Aries Delta. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Goutner, V., Furness, R.W., and Papakostas, G.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Environmental Pollution

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