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Assessment of contaminant levels and trophic relations at a World Heritage Site by measurements in a characteristic shorebird species
Schwemmer, P; Covaci, A.; Das, K.; Lepoint, G.; Adler, S; Garthe, S (2015). Assessment of contaminant levels and trophic relations at a World Heritage Site by measurements in a characteristic shorebird species. Environ. Res. 136: 163-172. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2014.10.021
In: Environmental Research. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0013-9351; e-ISSN 1096-0953, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Haematopus ostralegus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
    Marine
Author keywords
    Eurasian oystercatcher; Haematopus ostralegus; Wadden Sea; PCB; PBDE;Stable isotopes

Authors  Top 
  • Schwemmer, P
  • Covaci, A., more
  • Das, K., more
  • Lepoint, G., more
  • Adler, S
  • Garthe, S

Abstract
    The River Elbe is responsible for influxes of contaminants into the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. We investigated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oxychlordane (OxC), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexanes (a-, ß-, ?-HCHs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in blood and feathers from Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus; n=28) at the Elbe and compared it with a non-riverine site about 90 km further north. (1) Mean levels of all contaminants in feathers and serum were significantly higher at the river (?PCBs: 27.6 ng/g feather, 37.0 ng/ml serum; ?DDTs: 5.3 ng/g feather, 4.4 ng/ml serum) compared with the non-riverine site (?PCBs: 6.5 ng/g feather, 1.2 ng/ml serum; ?DDTs: 1.4 ng/g feather, 0.5 ng/ml serum). Mean ?HCH and HCB levels were <1.8 ng/g in feather and <1.8 ng/ml in serum at both sites. (2) Levels of most detectable compounds in serum and feathers were significantly related, but levels were not consistently higher in either tissue. (3) There was no significant relationship between trophic level in individual oystercatchers (expressed as d15N) or the degree of terrestrial feeding (expressed as d13C) and contaminant loads. (4) PBDEs were not detected in significant amounts at either site. The results of this study indicate that the outflow from one of Europe's largest river systems is associated with significant historical contamination, reflected by the accumulation of contaminants in body tissues in a coastal benthivore predator.

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