Advertisement

Condition and Health of Rufous Bush Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes) Nestlings in a Polluted Oasis Habitat in Southern Tunisia

  • Leila Alaya-Ltifi
  • Nawel Hayder-Benyahya
  • Slaheddine SelmiEmail author
Article

Abstract

We investigated whether the proximity to the Gabès-Ghannouche factory complex of phosphate treatment, in south-eastern Tunisia, was associated with notable changes in the condition and health of Rufous bush robin (Cercotrichas galactotes) nestlings hatched in the neighbouring oasis habitat. Results demonstrated that excrements of nestlings hatched in one oasis close to the factory complex contained higher concentrations of lead and zinc than the excrements of nestlings from one oasis situated 20 km away. Furthermore, when effects of age and nestling number in the nest were controlled, nestlings hatched near the factory complex showed reduced tarsus length, rectrix length, haematocrit level and haemoglobin concentration, but higher levels of fluctuating asymmetry compared to those from the more distant oasis. Overall, results suggest that the proximity to the factory complex was associated with increased exposure to metals and deterioration in nestling condition and development.

Keywords

Cadmium Biomarkers North Africa Passerines Lead Zinc 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to M. Ltifi who helped in data collection and to A. Hammouda for laboratory assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study complied with the Tunisian laws regarding wild animal sampling. Authorizations were obtained from the forest service in the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture (Permit No. 1047-DGF/DGP). All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

References

  1. Alaya-Ltifi L, Selmi S (2014) Passerine abundance and diversity in a polluted oasis habitat in south-eastern Tunisia. Eur J Wildlife Res 60:535–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alaya-Ltifi L, Chokri MA, Selmi S (2012) Breeding performance of passerines in a polluted oasis habitat in southern Tunisia. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 79:170–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azri C, Maalej A, Tlili A, Medhioub K (2002a) Caractérisation du niveau de pollution atmosphérique dans la ville de Sfax (Tunisie): influence des sources et des facteurs météorologique. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol 1:78–92Google Scholar
  4. Azri C, Tlili A, Serbaji MM, Medhioub K (2002b) Étude des résidus de combustion des fuels liquide et solide et de traitement chimique du phosphate brut dans la ville de Sfax (Tunisie). Pollut Atmos 174:297–308Google Scholar
  5. Belskii E, Grebennikov M (2014) Snail consumption and breeding performance of pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) along a pollution gradient in the Middle Urals, Russia. Sci Total Environ 490:114–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Belskii EA, Lugas’kova NV, Karfidova AA (2005) Reproductive parameters of adult birds and morphophysiological characteristics of chicks in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca Pall.) in technogenically polluted habitats. Russ J Ecol 36:329–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blust R, van der Linden A, Verheyen E, Decleir W (1988) Evaluation of microwave heating digestion and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry with continuum source background correction for the determination of Fe, Cu and Cd in brine shrimp. J Anal Atom Spectrom 3:387–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boukhriss J, Selmi S (2010) Risk-taking by incubating Rufous bush robins (Cercotrichas galactotes): season-dependent incubation stage effect. J Ethol 28:331–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dauwe T, Janssens E, Eens M (2006) Effects of heavy metal exposure on the condition and health of adult great tits (Parus major). Environ Pollut 140:71–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Drabkin DL, Austin JH (1935) Spectrophotometric studies II: preparations from washed blood cells; nitric oxide hemoglobin and sulfhemoglobin. J Biol Chem 112:51–65Google Scholar
  11. Eeva T, Lehikoinen E (1996) Growth and mortality of nestling great tits (Parus major) and pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) in a heavy metal pollution gradient. Oecologia 108:631–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eeva T, Tanhuanpää S, Råbergh C, Airaksinen S, Nikinmaa M, Lehikoinen E (2000) Biomarkers and fluctuating asymmetry as indicators of pollution-induced stress in two hole nesting passerines. Funct Ecol 14:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fair JM, Ricklefs RE (2002) Physiological, growth, and immune responses of Japanese quail chicks to the multiple stressors of immunological challenge and lead shot. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 42:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grasman KA, Scanlon PF (1995) Effects of acute lead ingestion and diet on antibody and T-cell-mediated immunity in Japanese quail. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 28:161–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guillaumont B, Ben Mustapha S, Ben Moussa H, Zaouali J, Soussi N, Ben Mammou A, Cariou C (1995) Pollution impact study in Gabès gulf (Tunisia) using remote sensing data. Mar Technol Soc J 29:46–58Google Scholar
  16. Henny CJ, Blus LJ, Hoffman DJ, Sileo L, Audet DJ, Snyder MR (2000) Field evaluation of lead effects on Canada geese and mallards in the Coeur d’Alene river basin, Idaho. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 39:97–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoffman DJ, Franson JC, Pattee OH, Bunck CM, Murray HC (1985) Biochemical and hematological effects of lead ingestion in nestling American kestrels. Comp Biochem Physiol C 80:431–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Janssens E, Dauwe T, Bervoets L, Eens M (2001) Heavy metals and selenium in feathers of great tits (Parus major) along a pollution gradient. Environ Toxicol Chem 20:2815–2820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Janssens E, Dauwe T, Pinxten R, Bervoets L, Blust R, Eens M (2003) Effects of heavy metal exposure on the condition and health of nestlings of the great tit (Parus major), a small song bird species. Environ Pollut 126:267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lessells CM, Boag PT (1987) Unrepeatable repeatabilities: a common mistake. Auk 104:116–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Llacuna S, Gorriz A, Riera M, Nadal J (1996) Effects of air pollution on haematological parameters in passerine birds. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 31:148–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Merila J, Svensson E (1995) Fat reserves and health state in migrant goldcrest Regulus regulus. Funct Ecol 9:842–848CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Miroslava V (2007) Measures of the developmental stability, body size and body condition in the black-striped mouse (Apodemus agrarius) as indicators of a disturbed environment in northern Serbia. Belgian J Zool 137:147–156Google Scholar
  24. Nyholm NEI (1998) Influence of heavy metal exposure during different phases of the ontogeny on the development of pied flycatchers, Ficedula hypoleuca, in natural populations. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 35:632–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ots I, Murumägi A, Hõrak P (1998) Haematological health state indices of reproducing Great Tits: methodology and sources of natural variation. Funct Ecol 12:700–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Palmer AR (1994) Fluctuating asymmetry analyses: A primer. In: Markow TA (ed) Developmental instability: its origins and evolutionary implications. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 335–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. SAS Statistical Institute (1998) SAS/STAT User’s Guide, version 8. SAS Statistical Institute, CaryGoogle Scholar
  28. Scheuhammer AM (1987) The chronic toxicity of aluminum, cadmium, mercury and lead in birds: a review. Environ Pollut 46:263–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scheuhammer AM (1996) Influence of reduced dietary calcium on the accumulation and effects of lead, cadmium, and aluminum in birds. Environ Pollut 94:337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Selmi S (2000) Données nouvelles sur les avifaunes des oasis du sud tunisien. Alauda 68:25–36Google Scholar
  31. UNEP/MAP (2012) State of the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment. UNEP/MAP–Barcelona Convention, AthensGoogle Scholar
  32. UNEP/WHO (1999) Identification of Priority Pollution Hot Spots and Sensitive Areas in the Mediterranean. MAP technical reports series No.124. UNEP, AthensGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leila Alaya-Ltifi
    • 1
  • Nawel Hayder-Benyahya
    • 1
  • Slaheddine Selmi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Département des Sciences de la Vie, Faculté des SciencesUniversité de GabèsGabèsTunisia

Personalised recommendations