Mercury concentrations in primary feathers reflect pollutant exposure in discrete non-breeding grounds used by Short-tailed Shearwaters

Yutaka Watanuki, Takashi Yamamoto, Ai Yamashita, Chihiro Ishii, Yoshinori Ikenaka, Shouta M.M. Nakayama, Mayumi Ishizuka, Yuya Suzuki, Yasuaki Niizuma, C. E. Meathrel, R. A. Phillips

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Abstract

We measured mercury concentrations ([Hg]) and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N) in the primary feathers of Short-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) that were tracked year-round. The [Hg] were highest in 14 birds that used the Okhotsk and northern Japan Seas during the non-breeding period (2.5 ± 1.4 μg/g), lowest in nine birds that used the eastern Bering Sea (0.8 ± 0.2 μg/g), and intermediate in five birds that used both regions (1.0 ± 0.5 μg/g), with no effects of δ15N. The results illustrate that samples from seabirds can provide a useful means of monitoring pollution at a large spatial scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-850
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Volume156
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • Geolocator
  • Monitoring
  • Northern North Pacific
  • Trophic level

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    Watanuki, Y., Yamamoto, T., Yamashita, A., Ishii, C., Ikenaka, Y., Nakayama, S. M. M., Ishizuka, M., Suzuki, Y., Niizuma, Y., Meathrel, C. E., & Phillips, R. A. (2015). Mercury concentrations in primary feathers reflect pollutant exposure in discrete non-breeding grounds used by Short-tailed Shearwaters. Journal of Ornithology, 156(3), 847-850. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-015-1205-6