Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 4060–4072

Large-scale spatial pollution patterns around the North Sea indicated by coastal bird eggs within an EcoQO programme

  • Tobias Dittmann
  • Peter H. Becker
  • Joop Bakker
  • Anders Bignert
  • Elisabeth Nyberg
  • M. Glória Pereira
  • Ursula Pijanowska
  • Richard F. Shore
  • Eric Stienen
  • Geir Olav Toft
  • Harald Marencic
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-012-1070-2

Cite this article as:
Dittmann, T., Becker, P.H., Bakker, J. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2012) 19: 4060. doi:10.1007/s11356-012-1070-2

Abstract

To categorize the marine environmental health status, the Oslo and Paris commissions have recently formulated Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) for many ecological features including the contamination of coastal bird eggs with mercury and organochlorines. In this study, we describe spatial and temporal patterns of egg contamination around the North Sea and compared them to the EcoQOs. Concentrations of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyl (ΣPCB) congeners, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (ΣDDT) and derivatives, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachlorocyclohexane (ΣHCH) isomers were analysed in two tern species (Sterna hirundo and Sterna paradisaea) and Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) eggs collected between 2008 and 2010 in a total of 21 sites in seven countries surrounding the North Sea. Hg, ΣPCB and HCB were highest in the southern sites, while ΣDDT and ΣHCH concentrations were greatest in eggs from the western North Sea and the Elbe estuary. There were rarely any consistent decreases over time for any compounds. In the terns, Hg, HCB and ΣHCH increased at most sites, ΣPCB and ΣDDT in Sweden and Norway. In the Oystercatcher, HCB and ΣHCH increased at more than the half of the sites, ΣPCB, ΣDDT and Hg at several German sites. In the terns, Hg, ΣPCB and ΣDDT exceeded the EcoQO in all, HCB in most years and sites. At most sites, ΣHCH fulfilled the EcoQO in some study years. In the Oystercatcher, Hg, ΣPCB and ΣDDT exceeded the EcoQO in all or most years and sites. HCB and ΣHCH fulfilled the EcoQO in some or all years at most sites. The EcoQO was exceeded most frequently in estuaries. We conclude that EcoQOs are suitable for drawing contamination patterns of the coastal North Sea in an easily understandable manner, offering the opportunity to harmonize the EcoQOs with coordinated environmental monitoring programmes.

Keywords

EcoQOMercuryOrganochlorinesNorth SeaMonitoringPOPs

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Dittmann
    • 1
  • Peter H. Becker
    • 1
  • Joop Bakker
    • 2
  • Anders Bignert
    • 3
  • Elisabeth Nyberg
    • 3
  • M. Glória Pereira
    • 4
  • Ursula Pijanowska
    • 1
  • Richard F. Shore
    • 4
  • Eric Stienen
    • 5
  • Geir Olav Toft
    • 6
  • Harald Marencic
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland”WilhelmshavenGermany
  2. 2.National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management (RIKZ)HarenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Contaminant ResearchSwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden
  4. 4.NERC Centre for Ecology and HydrologyLancaster Environment CentreLancasterUK
  5. 5.Research Institute for Nature and ForestBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.NLA University CollegeBergenNorway
  7. 7.Common Wadden Sea SecretariatWilhelmshavenGermany