Mercury levels and health parameters in the threatened Olrog’s Gull (Larus atlanticus) from Argentina

La Sala, L.F., Petracci, P.F., Smits, J.E., Botte, S. and Furness, R.W. (2011) Mercury levels and health parameters in the threatened Olrog’s Gull (Larus atlanticus) from Argentina. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 181(1-4), pp. 1-11. (doi:10.1007/s10661-010-1808-6)

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Abstract

Mercury (Hg) exposure was investigated through feathers of Olrog's Gull and related to health parameters in adults (hematocrit, total plasma proteins, morphometric measures, sex) and chicks (hematocrit, total plasma proteins, immunoglobulins G and M) from a colony located in estuary of Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Mercury concentrations were 5.50 +/- 2.59 mu g g (-aEuro parts per thousand 1) (n = 44) in live adults, 1.85 +/- 0.45 mu g g (-aEuro parts per thousand 1) (n = 45) in live chicks and 1.81 +/- 0.41 mu g g (-aEuro parts per thousand 1) (n = 41) in dead chicks. Large differences were observed between live adults and live or dead chicks and small differences between live and dead chicks. In the adults, the sex of the birds was the variable that best explained Hg concentrations. Male birds had higher concentrations than females; this suggests that the clutch provides a sink for mercury during egg laying. Hg concentrations in both adults and live chicks were associated with higher hematocrits. This could be associated with upregulated erythropoiesis to compensate for increased rate of destruction of prematurely senescent, Hg-contaminated erythrocytes. Based on our results, on the levels of Hg pollution in the past in the study area, and on the dietary specialization of Olrog's Gull, we must be vigilant about potential negative effects of Hg pollution on this population and recommend continued monitoring on this threatened species.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: La Sala, L.F., Petracci, P.F., Smits, J.E., Botte, S., and Furness, R.W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
ISSN:0167-6369
ISSN (Online):1573-2959
Published Online:23 December 2010

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