LONG-TERM CHANGES IN MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS IN HERRING-GULLS LARUS-ARGENTATUS AND COMMON TERNS STERNA-HIRUNDO FROM THE GERMAN NORTH-SEA COAST

Citation
Dr. Thompson et al., LONG-TERM CHANGES IN MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS IN HERRING-GULLS LARUS-ARGENTATUS AND COMMON TERNS STERNA-HIRUNDO FROM THE GERMAN NORTH-SEA COAST, Journal of Applied Ecology, 30(2), 1993, pp. 316-320
Citations number
22
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Ecology
Journal title
ISSN journal
0021-8901
Volume
30
Issue
2
Year of publication
1993
Pages
316 - 320
Database
ISI
SICI code
0021-8901(1993)30:2<316:LCIMCI>2.0.ZU;2-9
Abstract
1. Mercury concentrations in body feathers of herring gulls Larus arge ntatus Pontoppidan from the German North Sea coast showed no significa nt variation among seasons or regions. 2. Concentrations were higher i n adults than in juveniles and two times higher after 1940 than in ear lier years. Among adult herring gulls, concentrations increased abrupt ly to a peak of 12 mug g-1 during the 1940s, presumed to be due to hig h discharges of mercury during the Second World War. Concentrations dr opped in the 1950s then increased to a second peak in the 1970s (10 mu g g-1) before falling in the late 1980s. 3. This pattern fits well wit h known discharges of mercury into the rivers Elbe and Rhine, indicati ng that herring gull feather samples provide a measure of mercury poll ution of the German North Sea coastal ecosystem, pollution that appear s to be due predominantly to river inputs rather than atmospheric inpu ts.4. Over the same period, mercury concentrations in body feathers of common terns Sterna hirundo L. from the German North Sea coast show a 380% increase in adults and 140% increase in young. As with herring g ulls, museum samples did not provide evidence of geographical variatio n at a local level within Germany evident from other studies using egg s or chick body feathers. 5. We predict that seabird feather sampling will show a progressive reduction in mercury contamination of the Germ an North Sea coastal ecosystem as a result of recent and anticipated m easures to reduce river-borne pollution.