Increase of organochlorines and mercury levels in common guillemots Uria aalge during winter in the southern North Sea
Joiris, C.R.; Tapia, G.; Holsbeek, L. (1997). Increase of organochlorines and mercury levels in common guillemots Uria aalge during winter in the southern North Sea. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 34(12): 1049-1057. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0025-326X(97)00085-4
Beached seabirds, mainly common guillemots Uria aalge, were collected on the Belgian coast during winter from 1990 to 1995. Concentrations of total and organic mercury, and of organochlorines (PCBs and pesticides) were determined in muscle, liver and kidney. They were high compared to summer data (up to one order of magnitude), and increased during winter. This increase is not due to changes of total body weight nor polar lipid content, and thus reflects an actual increase of the seabirds' contamination while wintering in the southern North Sea. The observed annual cycle can be understood by assuming differences in prey contamination: higher during winter in the southern North Sea ecosystem than during summer in the Atlantic water ecosystem.
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