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Blood levels of heavy metals and arsenic in black-necked grebe Podiceps nigricollis during the moulting period in the Odiel Marshes, SW Spain

AuthorsMateo, Rafael ; Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime ; Ortiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; Martínez-Haro, Mónica ; Ramo, Cristina ; Amat, Juan A. ; Green, Andy J.
Issue Date2017
CitationSETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting (2017)
AbstractBlack-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) has in the salt pans of Odiel Marshes (SW Spain) one of the most important moulting areas in Western Europe. However, Odiel Marshes are impacted by the mining and industrial activities located in the Odiel and Tinto River Basin and the city of Huelva, respectively. Grebes moulting in this wetland could be therefore exposed to heavy metals and metalloids during a critical period, such is moulting, when energy and protein requirements are elevated. Here we have studied the hypothesis that black-necked grebes would experience an increase in blood levels of heavy metals and metalloids during their stay at Odiel Marshes, between August and December. Alternatively, we also consider the hypothesis that grebes could reduce the concentration of some elements by excretion with the newly grown feathers. Blood levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, copper and zinc were measured in blood of 180 black-necked grebes captured for a ringing program of the Doñana Biological Station. We studied the effect of sex, age (1styear, 2nd year and adults), moulting status (old plumage, active moult or new plumage), scaled mass index and date on the measured levels of metal(loids). Most of the studied elements showed significant temporal variations that could be associated with moulting status or with the time spent at the Odiel Marshes. Arsenic levels decreased during active moult (225 ng/ml) but increased afterwards to much higher blood concentrations during the stay at Odiel Marshes (488 ng/ml). Blood Pb levels were highest at the end of active moult (October: 18 ng/ml) and showed a slight increase with the age of birds. The analysis of recaptured birds in the same year also revealed an increase in blood Pb levels from October to November. One remarkable outlier with 404 ng/ml may correspond to the ingestion of a lead shot or a fishing weight. Mercury levels were lower in birds with new feathers (256 ng/ml) than in those with old feathers (303 ng/ml). Three birds showed extremely high levels of mercury (>10 ¿g/ml). Copper and zinc levels in blood were highest in birds with active moult. Our results show significant temporal variations of metal(loid) levels that can be associated with the requirements for feather formation (essential elements such as Cu and Zn) or with a detoxification due to the transfer of elements from blood to feathers (Hg).
DescriptionResumen del trabajo 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.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
(EBD) Comunicaciones congresos
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