Eggshell thinning and decreased concentrations of vitamin E are associated with contaminants in eggs of ivory gulls

  • Miljeteig C
  • Gabrielsen G
  • Strøm H
 et al. 
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Abstract

The ivory gull is a high Arctic seabird species threatened by climate change and contaminant exposure. High levels of contaminants have been reported in ivory gull Pagophila eburnea eggs from Svalbard and the Russian Arctic. The present study investigated associations between high levels of contaminants (organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) and mercury (Hg)) and three response variables: eggshell thickness, retinol (vitamin A) and α-tocopherol (vitamin E). Negative associations were found between levels of OCPs, PCBs and BFRs and eggshell thickness (p. . 0.1). There were no associations between PFASs and mercury and the three response variables. Furthermore, the eggshell thickness was 7-17% thinner in the present study than in archived ivory gull eggs (≤. 1930). In general, a thinning above 16 to 20% has been associated with a decline in bird populations, suggesting that contaminant-induced eggshell thinning may constitute a serious threat to ivory gull populations globally. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..

Author-supplied keywords

  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Organochlorines
  • Pagophila eburnea
  • Perfluorinated alkyl substances
  • Retinol
  • α-Tocopherol

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Authors

  • Bjorn JenssenNorwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Biology

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  • Cecilie Miljeteig

  • Geir Wing Gabrielsen

  • Hallvard Strøm

  • Maria V. Gavrilo

  • Elisabeth Lie

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