Trace Elements in Three Marine Birds Breeding on Reunion Island (Western Indian Ocean): Part 1—Factors Influencing Their Bioaccumulation

  • J. KojadinovicEmail author
  • M. Le Corre
  • R. P. Cosson
  • P. Bustamante


This work aimed to use seabirds as bioindicators of trace element levels in the tropical waters and food webs of the Western Indian Ocean. The accumulation patterns of selected toxic (Cd and Hg) and essential (Cu, Fe, Mn, Se, and Zn) elements were determined in liver, kidney, and pectoral muscle of 162 marine birds belonging to 3 species collected in Reunion Island between 2002 and 2004. These pelagic seabirds belong to the following species: Barau’s Petrel (Pterodroma baraui), Audubon’s Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri bailloni), and White-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus). Hg levels were also measured in breast feathers. Highest mean kidney Cd and liver Hg levels (respectively, 27.79 ± 13.78 μg.g −1 dry weight (dw) and 24.31 ± 14.13 μg.g −1 dw) were found in the squid-eating Barau’s Petrel. Barau’s Petrel feather Hg levels fell in the range of 0.6 to 2.7 μg.g−1 dw previously reported for other petrels and shearwaters. The values of the other elements were also in the same range as those previously reported in the published literature concerning related seabirds, although Se and Zn burdens in the Reunion birds were among the highest values. Levels of Zn, Fe, and, to a lesser extent, Cu appeared to be regulated in seabird tissues. Uptake and pathways of metabolism and storage seemed to be similar for the five essential elements. The reproductive status of the bird did not seem to affect element levels, which, moreover, were not significantly different between male and female birds. However, trace elements in sampled birds varied according to the tissue considered, the age of the animal, and its species. Diet was seemingly a major influencing factor. Health status also appeared to have an impact on element levels.


Pectoral Muscle Western Indian Ocean Adult Bird Trace Element Level Body Condition Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the Conseil Général de La Réunion. J. K. also benefited from support of the Conseil Régional de La Réunion and the European Social Fund through a doctoral grant. The authors would like to thank E. Robert, M. Rouquette, P. Grondin, and N. Ghanem in La Réunion for their help with tissue preparation and C. Churlaud, Centre Commun d’ Analyse (La Rochelle), for her assistance with the analyses on the ICP-AES. We would also like to thank the numerous volunteers who participate in the SEOR Petrel rescue program. We are also grateful toward the referees for helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kojadinovic
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • M. Le Corre
    • 1
  • R. P. Cosson
    • 2
  • P. Bustamante
    • 3
  1. 1.Université de La RéunionECOMARFrance
  2. 2.Université de NantesEMI, EA 2663France
  3. 3.CRELA, UMR 6217CNRS-IFREMER–Université de La RochelleLa RochelleFrance

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