Metal concentrations in pelagic seabirds from the North Pacific Ocean
Concentrations of four essential elements (Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu) and two toxic metals (Cd and Hg) were measured in selected tissues of 19 pelagic seabird species collected in the North Pacific and neighboring waters. Essential metal concentrations were generally highest in the liver and less variable than toxic metals among species and also within each species. Fe concentrations in the muscle were higher in Alcidae than in the other families, whereas the opposite trend was found for Fe and Mn in the liver. Zn concentrations varied among species, depending on the Cd concentrations. On the other hand, toxic metal concentrations were highest in the liver or kidney and varied widely among species, greatly depending on differences in the diet among species. Extraordinarily high Hg concentrations were found in Black-footed Albatrosses,Diomedea nigripes, exceeding 300 μg/g wet weight in some, and seemed to be due to constraints on the elimination of Hg. Also, some geographical differences in Cd and Hg concentrations of the seabirds were observed. The concentrations of Cd and Hg reported here, however, seem to be natural rather than due to environmental pollution.