Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2005 Jul 15;309(5733):445.

Arctic seabirds transport marine-derived contaminants.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5 Canada. jblais@science.uottawa.ca


Long-range atmospheric transport of pollutants is generally assumed to be the main vector for arctic contamination, because local pollution sources are rare. We show that arctic seabirds, which occupy high trophic levels in marine food webs, are the dominant vectors for the transport of marine-derived contaminants to coastal ponds. The sediments of ponds most affected by seabirds had 60 times higher DDT, 25 times higher mercury, and 10 times higher hexachlorobenzene concentrations than nearby control sites. Bird guano greatly stimulates biological productivity in these extreme environments but also serves as a major source of industrial and agricultural pollutants in these remote ecosystems.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk