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Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Sep 15;86(1-2):229-37. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.07.015. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

Elevated mercury levels in a wintering population of common eiders (Somateria mollissima) in the northeastern United States.

Author information

  • 1Biodiversity Research Institute, 652 Main Street, Gorham, ME 04038, United States. Electronic address: dustin.meattey@briloon.org.
  • 2Biodiversity Research Institute, 652 Main Street, Gorham, ME 04038, United States.
  • 3Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892, United States.
  • 4U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Parker River NWR, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950, United States.
  • 5U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rachel Carson NWR, 321 Port Rd., Wells, ME 04090, United States.
  • 6Battelle Marine Sciences Lab, 1529 W. Sequim Bay Rd., Sequim, WA 98382, United States.

Abstract

In North America and Europe, sea ducks are important indicators of ecological health and inshore marine pollution. To explore spatial variation in mercury accumulation in common eiders in the northeastern United States, we compared concentrations of total mercury in common eider blood at several New England locations between 1998 and 2013. Eider food items (mollusks) were collected and analyzed to determine if mercury concentrations in eider blood were indicative of local mercury bioavailability. Eiders from Plum Island Sound, MA had a significantly higher mean blood mercury concentration (0.83 μg/g) than those in other locations. Mean mercury levels in this population were also nearly three times higher than any blood mercury concentrations reported for common eiders in published literature. We observed consistent patterns in eider blood mercury and blue mussel mercury concentrations between sites, suggesting a tentative predictive quality between the two species.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Blood; Common eider; Contaminants; Mercury; Mollusks; Sea ducks

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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