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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2015 Jul;34(7):1552-61. doi: 10.1002/etc.2935. Epub 2015 May 5.

Circumpolar contamination in eggs of the high-Arctic ivory gull Pagophila eburnea.

Author information

Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway.
Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
National Park Russian Arctic, Archangelsk, Russia.
Joint Directorate of Taimyr Nature Reserves, Norilsk, Russia.
Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark.


The ivory gull Pagophila eburnea is a high-Arctic species threatened by climate change and contaminants. The objective of the present study was to assess spatial variation of contaminant levels (organochlorines [OCs], brominated flame retardants [BFRs], perfluorinated alkyl substances [PFASs], and mercury [Hg]) in ivory gulls breeding in different areas across the Arctic region as a baseline for potential future changes associated with climate change. Contaminants were already determined in eggs from Canada (Seymour Island; except PFASs), Svalbard in Norway (Svenskøya), and 3 sites in Russia (Nagurskoe, Cape Klyuv, and Domashny). New data from Greenland allowed the investigation of a possible longitudinal gradient of contamination. The most quantitatively abundant OCs were p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and polychlorobiphenyls. Mercury concentrations were higher in Canada compared with other colonies. Eggs from Nagurskoe often were characterized by higher OC and BFR concentrations. Concentrations gradually decreased in colonies situated east of Nagurskoe. In contrast, PFAS concentrations, especially perfluorooctanoate and perfluorononanoate, were higher in Greenland. Some of the contaminants, especially Hg and p,p'-DDE, exceeded published thresholds known to disrupt the reproductive success of avian species. Overall, the levels of OCs, BFRs, and PFASs did not suggest direct lethal exposure to these compounds, but their potential synergetic/additive sublethal effects warrant monitoring.


Arctic; Ivory gull; Perfluorinated alkyl substances; Persistent organic pollutants

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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