Document Detail

Metals in albatross feathers from midway atoll: influence of species, age, and nest location.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10702328     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Female birds sequester some heavy metals in their eggs, which are then transferred to the developing embryo. Semiprecocial birds such as albatrosses are fully covered with down at hatching, but are dependent on their parents for food for many weeks. At hatching, levels of metals in the chick's down represent exposure from the female via egg, while levels in fully formed feathers at fledgling, several months later, represent mainly exposure from food provided by their parents. In this paper we examine the concentrations of "metals" (heavy metals, mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, tin; and metalloids, arsenic and selenium), in the down and contour (body) feathers of half-grown young albatrosses, and contour feathers of one of their parents. We collected feathers from Laysan Diomedea immutabilis and black-footed Diomedea nigripes albatrosses from Midway Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean. We test the null hypotheses that there is no difference in metal levels as a function of species, age, feather type, and location on the island. Using linear regression we found significant models accounting for the variation in the concentrations of mercury, lead, cadmium, selenium, chromium, and manganese (but not arsenic or tin) as a function of feather type (all metals), collection location (all metals but lead), species (selenium only), and interactions between these factors. Most metals (except mercury, arsenic, and tin) were significantly higher in down than in the contour feathers of either chicks or adults. Comparing the two species, black-footed albatross chicks had higher levels of most elements (except arsenic) in their feathers and/or down. Black-footed adults had significantly higher levels of mercury and selenium. We also collected down and feathers from Laysan albatross chicks whose nests were close to buildings, including buildings with flaking lead paint and those that had been lead-abated. Lead levels in the down and feathers of chicks close to nonabated buildings were 10 times higher than for chicks from other locations. Conversely, levels of cadmium and tin were lower near the buildings. Near lead-abated buildings, lead levels decreased as a function of distance, indicating residual contamination on the soil. Our results indicate that black-footed albatross adults and chicks generally have higher levels of heavy metals in their feathers than Laysans. Chicks of both species have higher levels in their down than in their contour feathers, indicating potentially higher exposure during the early chick phase.
J Burger; M Gochfeld
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental research     Volume:  82     ISSN:  0013-9351     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Res.     Publication Date:  2000 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-04-28     Completed Date:  2000-04-28     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0147621     Medline TA:  Environ Res     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  207-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
Division of Life Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8082, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Newborn
Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
Feathers / chemistry
Metals, Heavy / analysis*
Pacific Islands
Tissue Distribution
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Environmental Pollutants; 0/Metals, Heavy

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