Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 13, pp 9889–9898 | Cite as

Mercury in the eggs of aquatic birds from the Gulf of Gdansk and Wloclawek Dam (Poland)

  • Agnieszka Grajewska
  • Lucyna FalkowskaEmail author
  • Emilia Szumiło-Pilarska
  • Julia Hajdrych
  • Marta Szubska
  • Tomasz Frączek
  • Włodzimierz Meissner
  • Szymon Bzoma
  • Magdalena Bełdowska
  • Andrzej Przystalski
  • Tomasz Brauze
Research Article


The aim of this paper was to assess the influence of diet on the concentrations of total mercury (HgTOT) in the eggs of aquatic birds. Trophic level was determined using stable isotopes (δ15N, δ13C). Analysis was carried out on eggs (laid in 2010–2012) belonging to two species of terns nesting at the River Vistula outlet on the Gulf of Gdansk and on herring gulls nesting both in Gdynia harbour and on the Vistula dam in Wloclawek. The results show that seafood diet causes the highest load of mercury, that which is transferred into terns eggs. The amounts of accumulated mercury obtained were found to be different in the particular egg components with Hgalbumen > Hgyolk > Hgmembrane > Hgshell. In the herring gull eggs, three stages of embryo development with varying levels of mercury were determined. It was observed that mercury received from the albumen and yolk was most effectively removed when developing embryo into down.


Total mercury Stable isotope analysis Terns Herring gull Bird eggs Embryos Coastal zone Southern Baltic Sea 



The present paper was created with the financial support of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the framework of the research project No. N N304 161637.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnieszka Grajewska
    • 1
  • Lucyna Falkowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emilia Szumiło-Pilarska
    • 1
  • Julia Hajdrych
    • 1
  • Marta Szubska
    • 1
  • Tomasz Frączek
    • 2
  • Włodzimierz Meissner
    • 3
  • Szymon Bzoma
    • 4
  • Magdalena Bełdowska
    • 1
  • Andrzej Przystalski
    • 5
  • Tomasz Brauze
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection, Faculty of Oceanography and GeographyUniversity of GdanskGdyniaPoland
  2. 2.Institute of Applied Radiation Chemistry, Faculty of ChemistryLodz University of TechnologyLodzPoland
  3. 3.Avian Ecophysiology Unit, Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of GdanskGdanskPoland
  4. 4.Waterbird Research Group KULINGGdyniaPoland
  5. 5.Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology and Environment ProtectionNicolaus Copernicus UniversityTorunPoland

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