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Mercury accumulation and excretion in laboratory reared black-headed gullLarus ridibundus chicks


Distribution of mercury between tissues was investigated in black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) chicks fed doses of methyl mercury. Mercury accumulated differentially in the internal tissues, concentrations in the kidney exceeding those in the liver, which in turn exceeded those in the muscle. All feather types contained higher mercury concentrations than internal tissues. For each dose group, there was a progressive and pronounced reduction in the concentrations of mercury found in the primary feathers as the growth sequence progressed. The amount of mercury given to the birds affected the proportion of mercury deposited in the kidney, carcass, and primaries. The amount of mercury administered had no effect on the proportion of mercury excreted either in the faeces or the feathers. 71% of the doses given was excreted over the fledging period, and 49% of the dose was found in the plumage. These figures allow a more quantitative approach to measuring mercury pollution.

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Lewis, S.A., Furness, R.W. Mercury accumulation and excretion in laboratory reared black-headed gullLarus ridibundus chicks. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 21, 316–320 (1991).

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  • Waste Water
  • Mercury
  • Water Pollution
  • Dose Group
  • Mercury Concentration