Lead and Cadmium in the Blood of Nine Species of Seabirds, Marion Island, South Africa

  • Carly F. Summers
  • William W. Bowerman
  • Nola Parsons
  • Wayne Y. Chao
  • William C. BridgesJr.


Levels of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) were investigated as potential stressors in nine species of breeding seabirds on Marion Island, South Africa. The majority of blood Pb levels (95 %) were below background exposure levels. Species was a significant factor in ranked means analysis for mean blood Pb levels. Fewer individual blood Cd levels (<60 %) were within background exposure levels and species was not significant. Elevated levels of Cd have been documented in other seabird species without apparent outward effects, which suggests that seabirds may be adapted to high cadmium environments, particularly from their diets. Overall, the results suggest Pb and Cd are not primary causes for concern in these seabirds.


Lead Cadmium Seabird Heavy metal Marion Island South Africa 



We are grateful for the assistance of our contributors and editors including Dr. Robert Powell, Clemson University. We thank our research institutes for their support. This work serves as a contribution to the Seabird Health Survey organized by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carly F. Summers
    • 1
  • William W. Bowerman
    • 2
  • Nola Parsons
    • 3
  • Wayne Y. Chao
    • 4
  • William C. BridgesJr.
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental SciencesClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal BirdsBloubergrant, Cape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental SciencesClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  5. 5.Department of MathematicsClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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