Levels of Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) Stranded on the Brazilian Coast

  • Claudia M. VegaEmail author
  • Salvatore Siciliano
  • Paulo R. G. Barrocas
  • Sandra S. Hacon
  • Reinaldo C. Campos
  • Silvana do Couto Jacob
  • Paulo Henrique Ott


Cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb) were determined in samples of liver and breast muscles of first-year Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), from two different areas on the Brazilian coast, 35 on the Rio de Janeiro coast and 12 on the Rio Grande do Sul coast. In both areas, Cd concentrations in muscle samples were <0.025 μg/g. However, the Cd and Hg concentrations found in liver and Hg concentrations found in muscle showed a significant difference between the two regions. The geometric mean of the concentrations was higher in the specimens from Rio de Janeiro (Cd—6.8 μg/g; Hg—liver, 1.6 μg/g, and muscle, 0.4 μg/g wet weight) than in those from Rio Grande do Sul (Cd—2.3 μg/g; Hg—liver, 0.9 μg/g, and muscle, 0.1 μg/g wet weight). The site differences could be related to differences in diet influenced by geographic factors. Brazil’s southeastern coast is highly urbanized, and its coastal waters are contaminated by the waste of agricultural and industrial activities. There is a lack of information on the levels of heavy metals in S. magellanicus, however, their wide distribution and top position in the trophic chain make the use of stranded specimens an attractive source of information for monitoring heavy metals in the South Atlantic coast.


Total Body Length Vanadium Pentoxide Brazilian Coast Falkland Island Heavy Metal Level 
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.



We thank the laboratories of INCQS and PUC-Rio, Grupo de Mamíferos Marinhos da Região dos Lagos (GEMM-Lagos), and Grupo de Estudo de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul (GEMARS). Also, we appreciate the support of Jailson Fulgencio de Moura, M.Sc., in the design of the graphics presented here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia M. Vega
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Salvatore Siciliano
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paulo R. G. Barrocas
    • 4
  • Sandra S. Hacon
    • 3
  • Reinaldo C. Campos
    • 5
  • Silvana do Couto Jacob
    • 6
  • Paulo Henrique Ott
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.PPG em Saúde Pública e Meio Ambiente, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/FIOCRUZRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Marinhos da Região dos Lagos (GEMM-Lagos)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/FIOCRUZRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Sanitation and Environmental Health DepartmentEscola Nacional de Saúde Pública/FIOCRUZRio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de QuímicaPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  6. 6.Instituto Nacional de Controle de Qualidade em Saúde (INCQS)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  7. 7.Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Sul (UERGS)CidreiraBrazil
  8. 8.Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul (GEMARS)Porto AlegreBrazil

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