Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Pollutant levels in Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwaters measured

R. Costa (Departamento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, Aveiro, Portugal) and colleagues have an in-press paper with the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin that looks at trace element and organic pollutant levels in ACAP-listed and Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwaters Puffinus mauretanicus.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“This study presents the first data on trace element and organic pollutant concentrations in the Critically Endangered Balearic shearwaterPuffinus mauretanicuscollected in 2010 and 2011 in Portugal.  Trace element levels were below the threshold levels for adverse effects on birds, despite the Hg concentrations in feathers (4.35 μg·g–1 ww).  No significant differences were detected between individuals from 2010 and 2011 except for Se concentrations in liver, feathers and muscle (higher in 2010) and Ag in liver and muscle (higher in 2011).  No significant differences were detected in total concentrations of organochlorine compounds in Balearic shearwaters between years, although PCB congeners -101 and -180 presented higher concentrations in individuals from 2010.  The PCB congeners -138, -153 and -180, and 4.4-DDE were detected in all individuals.  This study on toxic elements and organic pollutants in wintering Balearic shearwaters provides baseline data from which deviations can be detected in the future.”

 Balearic Shearwater Pep Arcos

Balearic Shearwater at sea, photograph by Pep Arcos


Costa, R.A., Torres, J., Vingada, J.V. & Eira, C. 2016.  Persistent organic pollutants and inorganic elements in the Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus wintering off Portugal.  Marine Pollution Bulletin in press.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 12 May 2016

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