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Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Dec 29;190(1):52. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6433-1.

Survey of heavy metals in internal tissues of Great cormorant collected from southern wetlands of Caspian Sea, Iran.

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Department of Environment Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.
Department of Environment Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.


The level of mercury, iron, copper, and zinc was measured in 18 Great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) collected from Anzali and Gomishan wetlands in the south of the Caspian Sea. The mean level of metals in dried tissues of the muscle, liver, and kidney was 2.26, 5.71, 3.79-Hg; 943.54, 379.97, 348.05-Fe; 42.64, 14.78, 60.79-Cu, and 71.97, 134.63, 77.82-Zn, respectively (mg/kg). There was no significant different between genders in terms of accumulation of metals, except for copper in the kidney. The results of Pearson correlation showed a positive and strong relationship between the fat in the liver and mercury (r = 0.95, R2 = 0.90). Also, there was a significant difference between the values of all metals with the allowable limits presented in EPA, WHO, and CCME, where all of values were above standard levels. Thus, as the muscles of the bird are sometimes eaten by humans, this result is a serious warning. Nevertheless, the relatively high levels of heavy metals accumulated in different tissues of Great cormorant at that time are a result of their high weight and nourishment they have at the terminal days of their migration due to lack of natural physical activity. Regarding to the importance of heavy metals in birds, we suggest the same study to be conducted on the species in other seasons and wetlands.


Caspian Sea; Contamination; Great cormorant; Heavy metals

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