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Environ Pollut. 2009 Mar;157(3):755-62. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.11.026. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Monitoring organic contaminants in eggs of glaucous and glaucous-winged gulls (Larus hyperboreus and Larus glaucescens) from Alaska.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory, 331 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, USA.


Gull eggs have been used to monitor contaminants in many parts of the world. The Seabird Tissue Archival and Monitoring Project (STAMP) is a long-term program designed to track trends in pollutants in northern marine environments using seabird eggs. Glaucous and glaucous-winged gull (Larus hyperboreus and Larus glaucescens) eggs collected in 2005 from seven Alaskan colonies were analyzed for organic contaminants. Concentrations ranged from below detection limits to 322 ng g(-1) wet mass in one egg for 4,4'-DDE and differed among the samples collected in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering and Chukchi Seas. Chick growth and survival rates may be affected by the contaminant levels found in the eggs, but the eggs should be safe for human consumption if they are eaten in small quantities. STAMP plans to continue collecting and banking gull eggs for future real-time and retrospective analyses.

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