, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 253-258

Cadmium and lead in common terns (Aves: Sterna hirundo): Relationship between levels in parents and eggs

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Abstract

We analyzed cadmium and lead levels in feathers of mated pairs of common terns (Sterna hirundo) and in their eggs to determine if metal levels in eggs correlated with female levels, and whether there were intrapair and intermetal correlations. Eggs had significantly lower lead levels (89 ng g-1) and cadmium levels (4.0 ng g-1) than adult feathers (500 and 50 ng g-1 respectively). Adult females had higher metal levels than males. Cadmium and lead levels were correlated across families for females, males and eggs. Lead, but not cadmium, levels were correlated in females and their eggs.