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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 847–850 | Cite as

Mercury concentrations in primary feathers reflect pollutant exposure in discrete non-breeding grounds used by Short-tailed Shearwaters

  • Yutaka Watanuki
  • Takashi Yamamoto
  • Ai Yamashita
  • Chihiro Ishii
  • Yoshinori Ikenaka
  • Shouta M. M. Nakayama
  • Mayumi Ishizuka
  • Yuya Suzuki
  • Yasuaki Niizuma
  • C. E. Meathrel
  • R. A. Phillips
Short Note

Abstract

We measured mercury concentrations ([Hg]) and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N) in the primary feathers of Short-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) that were tracked year-round. The [Hg] were highest in 14 birds that used the Okhotsk and northern Japan Seas during the non-breeding period (2.5 ± 1.4 μg/g), lowest in nine birds that used the eastern Bering Sea (0.8 ± 0.2 μg/g), and intermediate in five birds that used both regions (1.0 ± 0.5 μg/g), with no effects of δ15N. The results illustrate that samples from seabirds can provide a useful means of monitoring pollution at a large spatial scale.

Keywords

Geolocator Trophic level Northern North Pacific Monitoring 

Zusammenfassung

Quecksilberkonzentrationen in Primärfedern spiegeln wider, wie sehr Kurzschwanz-Sturmtaucher in verschiedenen außerhalb der Brutzeit genutzten Gebieten Umweltschadstoffen ausgesetzt sind

Wir haben die Quecksilberkonzentrationen ([Hg]) und stabilen Stickstoffisotopenverhältnisse (δ15 N) in den Primärfedern von Kurzschwanz-Sturmtauchern (Puffinus tenuirostris), deren Bewegungen das ganze Jahr über verfolgt wurden, gemessen. [Hg] waren am höchsten (2.5 ± 1.4 μg/g) bei 14 Vögeln, die sich außerhalb der Brutzeit im Ochotskischen Meer und im nördlichen Japanischen Meer aufhielten, am niedrigsten (0.8 ± 0.2 μg/g) bei neun Vögeln, die das östliche Beringmeer nutzten, und mittelhoch (1.0 ± 0.5 μg/g) bei fünf Vögeln, die beide Regionen nutzten. δ15 N war nicht betroffen. Diese Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Proben von Seevögeln ein nützliches Mittel sein können, um Umweltverschmutzung großräumig zu beobachten.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank R. Bruce, B. Nishizawa, and A. Ito for field assistance, and L. Hardy for recovering geolocator from a beached bird. Research was carried out under La Trobe University Animal Ethics Project AEC 10/32 (W) and Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries Permits to Take Wildlife for Scientific Purpose FA10161 and FA11212 held by CE Meathrel. The study was supported by JSPS (#20241001, #22405007) and the GRENE project.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yutaka Watanuki
    • 1
  • Takashi Yamamoto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ai Yamashita
    • 1
  • Chihiro Ishii
    • 3
  • Yoshinori Ikenaka
    • 3
  • Shouta M. M. Nakayama
    • 3
  • Mayumi Ishizuka
    • 3
  • Yuya Suzuki
    • 1
  • Yasuaki Niizuma
    • 4
  • C. E. Meathrel
    • 5
  • R. A. Phillips
    • 6
  1. 1.Graduate School of Fisheries SciencesHokkaido UniversityHakodateJapan
  2. 2.Arctic Environment Research CenterNational Institute of Polar ResearchTachikawaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Veterinary MedicineHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of AgricultureMeijyo UniversityNagoyaJapan
  5. 5.LaTrobe UniversityWodongaAustralia
  6. 6.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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