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Corey A Clatterbuck, Rebecca L Lewison, Nathan G Dodder, Catherine Zeeman, Kenneth Schiff
Seabirds are often cited as sentinels of the marine environment, but are rarely used in traditional ocean and coastal contaminant monitoring. Four classes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs, n=68) and three trace elements (mercury, selenium, and arsenic) were measured in the eggs of California least terns (Sterna antillarum browni), caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia), double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), and western gulls (Larus occidentalis) that nest in the Southern California Bight. Building on a periodic five year regional monitoring program, we measured contaminant exposure and assessed the utility of seabirds as regional contaminant biomonitors...
November 16, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
Emily R Whitmer, Becky A Elias, Danielle J Harvey, Michael H Ziccardi
Following an oil spill in the marine environment, chemical dispersants, which increase oil droplet formation and distribution into the water column, are assumed to provide a net benefit to seabirds by reducing the risk of exposure to oil on the water surface. However, few data are available regarding acute, external impacts of exposure to dispersed oil. We evaluated the effects of known concentrations of dispersant and crude oil in artificial seawater on live Common Murres (Uria aalge). Waterproofing and microscopic feather geometry were evaluated over time and compared to pre-exposure values...
November 17, 2017: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Alice Carravieri, Jérôme Fort, Arnaud Tarroux, Yves Cherel, Oliver P Love, Solène Prieur, Maud Brault-Favrou, Paco Bustamante, Sébastien Descamps
Mercury (Hg) is a pervasive contaminant reaching Antarctic environments through atmospheric transport and deposition. Seabirds as meso to top predators can accumulate high quantities of Hg through diet. Reproduction is one of the most sensitive endpoints of Hg toxicity in marine birds. Yet, few studies have explored Hg exposure and effects in Antarctic seabirds, where increasing environmental perturbations challenge animal populations. This study focuses on the Antarctic petrel Thalassoica antarctica from Svarthamaren, Antarctica, where the world's largest breeding population is thought to be in decline...
November 13, 2017: Environmental Pollution
Frankie Jean-Gagnon, P Legagneux, G Gilchrist, S Bélanger, O P Love, J Bêty
Determining how environmental conditions interact with individual intrinsic properties is important for unravelling the underlying mechanisms that drive variation in reproductive decisions among migratory species. We investigated the influence of sea ice conditions and body condition at arrival on the breeding propensity, i.e. the decision to reproduce or not within a single breeding season, and timing of laying in migrating common eiders (Somateria mollissima) breeding in the Arctic. Using Radarsat satellite images acquired from 2002 to 2013, we estimated the proportion of open water in the intertidal zone in early summer to track the availability of potential foraging areas for pre-breeding females...
November 15, 2017: Oecologia
Cristina Nava, Verónica C Neves, Malvina Andris, Marie-Pierre Dubois, Philippe Jarne, Mark Bolton, Joël Bried
Bottleneck episodes may occur in small and isolated animal populations, which may result in decreased genetic diversity and increased inbreeding, but also in mating strategy adjustment. This was evaluated in the vulnerable and socially monogamous Monteiro's Storm-petrel Hydrobates monteiroi, a seabird endemic to the Azores archipelago which has suffered a dramatic population decline since the XVth century. To do this, we conducted a genetic study (18 microsatellite markers) in the population from Praia islet, which has been monitored over 16 years...
November 15, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
Alice Carravieri, Henri Weimerskirch, Paco Bustamante, Yves Cherel
Very little is known about trophic ontogenetic changes over the prolonged immaturity period of long-lived, wide-ranging seabirds. By using blood and feather trophic tracers (δ(13)C and δ(15)N, and mercury, Hg), we studied age-related changes in feeding ecology during the immature phase of wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans when they gradually change from a pure oceanic life to visits to their future breeding grounds. Immatures fed in subtropical waters at high trophic positions during moult. Between- and within-individual variations in isotopic niche were very high, irrespective of age, highlighting wide-ranging exploratory behaviours...
October 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Letizia Campioni, Josué Martínez-de la Puente, Jordi Figuerola, José Pedro Granadeiro, Mónica C Silva, Paulo Catry
The apparent scarcity or absence of blood parasites in some avian groups, such as seabirds, has been related to intrinsic and extrinsic factors including host immunological capacity, host-parasite assemblage, and ecological parameters, but also to reduced sensitivity of some methods to detect low parasite prevalence/intensities of infection. Here, we examined the haemosporidian parasite prevalence in a breeding population of Cory's shearwater Calonectris diomedea borealis, a long-distance migrant seabird, nesting in the Macaronesian region, in the Eastern Atlantic...
November 9, 2017: Parasitology Research
Ane Haarr, Ketil Hylland, Norith Eckbo, Geir Wing Gabrielsen, Dorte Herzke, Jan Ove Bustnes, Pierre Blevin, Olivier Chastel, Børge Moe, Sveinn Are Hanssen, Kjetil Sagerup, Katrine Borgå
Environmental contaminants are found throughout Arctic marine ecosystems, and their presence in seabirds has been associated with toxicological responses. However, there are few studies of genotoxicity in Arctic avian wildlife. The purpose of the present study was to quantify DNA damage in lymphocytes of selected seabird species and to examine whether accumulation of organohalogen contaminants ( OHCs) affects DNA damage. Blood was sampled from common eider (Somateria mollissima), black guillemot (Cepphus grylle), black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus), arctic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus), and great skua (Stercorarius skua) in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard...
November 9, 2017: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
John C Wingfield, Michaela Hau, P Dee Boersma, L Michael Romero, Nigella Hillgarth, Marilyn Ramenofsky, Peter Wrege, Robert Scheibling, J Patrick Kelley, Brian Walker, Martin Wikelski
El Niño Southern Oscillation events (ENSO) and the subsequent opposite weather patterns in the following months and years (La Niña) have major climatic impacts, especially on oceanic habitats, affecting breeding success of both land and sea birds. We assessed corticosterone concentrations from blood samples during standardized protocols of capture, handling and restraint to simulate acute stress from 12 species of Galapagos Island birds during the ENSO year of 1998 and a La Niña year of 1999. Plasma levels of corticosterone were measured in samples collected at capture (to represent non-stressed baseline) and subsequently up to one hour post-capture to give maximum corticosterone following acute stress, and total amount of corticosterone that the individual was exposed to during the test period (integrated corticosterone)...
October 26, 2017: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Matthias Grote, Carlo van Bernem, Birgit Böhme, Ulrich Callies, Ivan Calvez, Bernard Christie, Kevin Colcomb, Hans-Peter Damian, Hubert Farke, Carolin Gräbsch, Alex Hunt, Thomas Höfer, Jürgen Knaack, Uta Kraus, Stephane Le Floch, Gilbert Le Lann, Heiko Leuchs, Almut Nagel, Hartmut Nies, Walter Nordhausen, Jens Rauterberg, Dirk Reichenbach, Gregor Scheiffarth, Fabian Schwichtenberg, Norbert Theobald, Joachim Voß, Dierk-Steffen Wahrendorf
In case of an oil spill, dispersant application represents a response option, which enhances the natural dispersion of oil and thus reduces coating of seabirds and coastal areas. However, as oil is transferred to the water phase, a trade-off of potential harmful effects shifted to other compartments must be performed. This paper summarizes the results of a workshop on the current knowledge on risks and benefits of the use of dispersants with respect to specific conditions encountered at the German sea areas...
October 26, 2017: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Leah A Kenney, Robb S A Kaler, Michelle L Kissling, Alexander L Bond, Collin A Eagles-Smith
Mercury (Hg) is a non-essential, toxic metal that is distributed worldwide. Mercury biomagnifies in food webs and can threaten the health of top predators such as seabirds. The Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a seabird endemic to Alaska and the Russian Far East and is a species of conservation concern in the region. We determined Hg concentrations in eggshells, guano, blood, and feathers of Kittlitz's murrelets sampled from four locations in Alaska. Mercury concentrations in eggshells, guano, and blood were low compared to other seabird species...
October 31, 2017: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Salomé Martínez Morcillo, Maria Chiara Perego, Jorge Vizuete, Francesca Caloni, Cristina Cortinovis, Luis Eusebio Fidalgo, Ana López-Beceiro, María Prado Míguez, Francisco Soler, Marcos Pérez-López
Over the last years, cholinesterase (ChE) and carboxylesterase (CbE) activities have been increasingly used in environmental biomonitoring to detect the exposure to anticholinesterase insecticides such as organophosphorates (OPs) and carbamates (CBs). The aim of this study was to determine ChE and CbE enzymatic activities present in liver and muscle of yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis), a seabird species considered suitable to monitor environmental pollution. In order to provide reference data for further biomonitoring studies, the influence of different factors, such as gender, age, sampling mode, and tissue, was considered in the present study...
November 2, 2017: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Loriane Mendez, Aurélien Prudor, Henri Weimerskirch
The early life stages represent a crucial period that can strongly influence population dynamics. We studied the development of foraging behaviour in the red-footed booby, a tropical seabird with an extensive post-fledging care period (3 to 6 months). Adults and juveniles were observed from shore and tracked at sea using GPS loggers over 3 consecutive 12-day periods. Juveniles initially made a majority of flights inland, likely to practice flying, and formed groups of up to 10 juveniles before making short trips at sea...
October 24, 2017: Scientific Reports
Stephanie Avery-Gomm, Jennifer F Provencher, Max Liboiron, Florence E Poon, Paul A Smith
Plastic is now one among one of the most pervasive pollutants on the planet, and ocean circulation models predict that the Arctic will become another accumulation zone. As solutions to address marine plastic emerge, is essential that baselines are available to monitor progress towards targets. The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), a widely-distributed seabird species, has been used as a biological monitor for plastic pollution in the North Sea, and could be a useful monitoring species elsewhere. We quantified plastic ingested by northern fulmars from the southeastern Canadian waters of the Labrador Sea with the objective of establishing a standardized baseline for future comparisons...
October 18, 2017: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Abiodun O Adeniji, Omobola O Okoh, Anthony I Okoh
Petroleum hydrocarbon profiles of water and sediment samples of Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa were assessed using standard analytical procedures. Water (from surface and bottom levels) and sediment samples were collected from five locations in the bay from February to June 2016. Extraction of the petroleum hydrocarbons from the water and sediment samples collected was achieved using liquid-liquid and Soxhlet extraction techniques, respectively, followed by column clean up. Target compounds were analytically determined with gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID) and quantified by integrating the areas of both the resolved and unresolved components...
October 20, 2017: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Catalina Pimiento, John N Griffin, Christopher F Clements, Daniele Silvestro, Sara Varela, Mark D Uhen, Carlos Jaramillo
The end of the Pliocene marked the beginning of a period of great climatic variability and sea-level oscillations. Here, based on a new analysis of the fossil record, we identify a previously unrecognized extinction event among marine megafauna (mammals, seabirds, turtles and sharks) during this time, with extinction rates three times higher than in the rest of the Cenozoic, and with 36% of Pliocene genera failing to survive into the Pleistocene. To gauge the potential consequences of this event for ecosystem functioning, we evaluate its impacts on functional diversity, focusing on the 86% of the megafauna genera that are associated with coastal habitats...
August 2017: Nature ecology & evolution
Victor R Simpson, David N Fisher
BACKGROUND: Mortality of seabirds due to anthropogenic causes, especially entrapment in fishing gear, is a matter of increasing international concern. This study aimed at characterising the gross pathology of seabirds that drowned in fishing nets and comparing it with that in other common causes of mortality. RESULTS: Post-mortem examinations were performed on 103 common guillemots, 32 razorbills, 37 shags and 5 great northern divers found stranded in Cornwall during 1981-2016...
October 12, 2017: BMC Veterinary Research
Christian Che-Castaldo, Stephanie Jenouvrier, Casey Youngflesh, Kevin T Shoemaker, Grant Humphries, Philip McDowall, Laura Landrum, Marika M Holland, Yun Li, Rubao Ji, Heather J Lynch
Colonially-breeding seabirds have long served as indicator species for the health of the oceans on which they depend. Abundance and breeding data are repeatedly collected at fixed study sites in the hopes that changes in abundance and productivity may be useful for adaptive management of marine resources, but their suitability for this purpose is often unknown. To address this, we fit a Bayesian population dynamics model that includes process and observation error to all known Adélie penguin abundance data (1982-2015) in the Antarctic, covering >95% of their population globally...
October 10, 2017: Nature Communications
Anne E Storey, Morag G Ryan, Michelle G Fitzsimmons, Amy-Lee Kouwenberg, Linda S Takahashi, Gregory J Robertson, Sabina I Wilhelm, Donald W McKay, Gene R Herzberg, Frances K Mowbray, Luke MacMillan, Carolyn J Walsh
Seabird parents use a conservative breeding strategy that favours long-term survival over intensive parental investment, particularly under harsh conditions. Here, we examine whether variation in several physiological indicators reflects the balance between parental investment and survival in common murres (Uria aalge) under a wide range of foraging conditions. Blood samples were taken from adults during mid-chick rearing from 2007 to 2014 and analysed for corticosterone (CORT, stress hormone), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BUTY, lipid metabolism reflecting ongoing mass loss), and haematocrit (reflecting blood oxygen capacity)...
2017: Conservation Physiology
Yusuke Goto, Ken Yoda, Katsufumi Sato
Numerous flying and swimming animals constantly need to control their heading (that is, their direction of orientation) in a flow to reach their distant destination. However, animal orientation in a flow has yet to be satisfactorily explained because it is difficult to directly measure animal heading and flow. We constructed a new animal movement model based on the asymmetric distribution of the GPS (Global Positioning System) track vector along its mean vector, which might be caused by wind flow. This statistical model enabled us to simultaneously estimate animal heading (navigational decision-making) and ocean wind information over the range traversed by free-ranging birds...
September 2017: Science Advances
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