, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 234-243

Organochlorines and Possible Biochemical Effects in Glaucous Gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Bjørnøya, the Barents Sea

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Abstract.

To study possible biochemical effects of organochlorine contaminants (OCs) in glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus), 40 adult individuals were collected from colonies on Bjørnøya in the Barents Sea. OCs (four pesticides and nine PCB congeners), microsomal 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity, microsomal testosterone hydroxylation, highly carboxylated porphyrins (HCPs), retinol, and retinyl palmitate were quantified in liver samples. The hepatic vitamin A stores in glaucous gulls were larger than in herring gulls (Larus argentatus) from other studies conducted in contaminated locations in North America. No significant relationships were found between liver retinoid concentrations and OC levels. The hepatic EROD activity was low compared to other studies on fish-eating birds and only marginally associated with PCB levels. Microsomal testosterone hydroxylase activity was only observed at the 6β-position and could not be related to OC levels. The low P450-associated enzyme activities in the glaucous gull suggests that they have a low capacity for metabolizing OCs, which may contribute to the high accumulation of OCs in this species. HCPs were only elevated (138 pmol g−1) in the sample with highest OC levels, whereas the remaining samples contained low levels of HCPs (<30 pmol g−1). The weak association between EROD activity and PCB levels and the low level of HCPs suggest that these biochemical parameters were unaffected by OCs in most of the sampled gulls. Thus, the glaucous gull seems not to be particularly sensitive toward Ah-receptor mediated effects.

Received: 24 December 1998/Accepted: 12 July 1999