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Environ Pollut. 2009 Aug-Sep;157(8-9):2282-90. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.031. Epub 2009 Apr 11.

Persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and parasites in the glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) on Spitsbergen.

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Tromsø University Museum, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway.


The prediction of a higher parasite infection as a consequence of an impaired immune system with increasing persistent organic pollution (POP) and heavy metal levels were investigated in adult glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard. The levels of chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxaphenes and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in liver. Copper, cadmium, lead, mercury, selenium and zinc were measured in kidney samples. An elevated ratio of PCB-118 was found, suggesting that local contamination from the settlement was detectable in the glaucous gull. Eight cestodes, four nematodes, two acanthocephalan and three trematode helminth species were found in the intestine. A positive correlation was found between cestode intensities and selenium levels and between acanthocephalan intensities and mercury levels. No correlation was found between parasite intensities and POP concentrations. It is concluded that the contaminant levels found in glaucous gulls do not cause immune suppression severe enough to affect parasite intensity.

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