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dc.contributor.authorGarcía-Heras, Marie-Sophie-
dc.contributor.authorArroyo, Beatriz-
dc.contributor.authorSimmons, Robert E.-
dc.contributor.authorCamarero, Pablo R.-
dc.contributor.authorMateo, Rafael-
dc.contributor.authorMougeot, François-
dc.identifier.citationEnvironmental Pollution 232: 440-449 (2017)-
dc.descriptionTrabajo presentado al Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe 27th Annual Meeting, celebrado en Bruselas (Bélgica) del 7 al 11 de mayo de 2017.-
dc.description.abstractPersistent pollutants such as organochlorine compounds (OCs) have been highlighted as a cause of population decline in apex predators, and understanding the patterns of OCs contamination can be crucial for the conservation of affected species. Despite the large number of studies, little is known on the threats to African raptor species. Here we report on OC concentrations in an endangered top-predator endemic to southern Africa, the Black Harrier Circus maurus. Blood samples were collected in 2012-2014 from wild nestlings (n=90) and adults (n=23) in south-western South Africa, a region where agriculture and urbanization have rapidly developed since the 1950s. Levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (ΣPCB) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (ΣDDT, for p,p’-DDT + p,p’-DDE) were detected in 79% and 84% of sampled individuals respectively, with varying concentrations among demographic groups. Nestlings had significantly higher ΣPCB and p,p’-DDT concentrations than adults, which in contrast presented higher levels of p,p’-DDE than nestlings. Levels of ΣPCB significantly increased with “Transformer Density Index”, an innovative index assessing number and power of electricity transformers around active nests, which we propose as a useful tool for assessing ΣPCB exposure in wildlife. Levels of p,p’-DDE significantly increased with the proportion of wetlands within the breeding territory. No association was found between OC levels and the protected areas status of nesting sites. Furthermore, p,p’-DDE levels significantly increased with higher percentage of bird biomass in an individual’s diet, confirming the intra-specific relation between diet composition and OCs contamination. Finally, we show that OCs had sub-lethal effects on indicators of health condition. White blood cell count increased with higher p,p’-DDT levels, showing a reaction by the immune system. The Heterophils: Lymphocytes ratio increased with higher ΣPCB levels, suggesting increased physiological stress and reduced immunity. We suggest that detection of OCs in Black Harriers highlight a current threat to other sympatric predators.-
dc.description.sponsorshipThis study was supported by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) (Grant no. 90582 to RES), the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (University of Cape Town), the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas- PIE 201330E106), a Leslie Brown Award from the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF) and by private landowners and organizations. FM and BA thank UCT for financial support (2015 Science Faculty Distinguished Visitor award to FM; and Foreign Research Fellowship to BA).-
dc.titleBlood concentrations of organochlorine compounds in an avian predator endemic to southern Africa: associations with habitat, electric transformers and diet-
dc.description.versionPeer Reviewed-
dc.contributor.funderNational Research Foundation (South Africa)-
dc.contributor.funderUniversity of Cape Town-
dc.contributor.funderConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (España)-
dc.contributor.funderRaptor Research Foundation-
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