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Daily Archives: 25. March 2012 − News & Stories

Glau­cous gulls threa­ten­ed by envi­ron­men­tal toxins

Long-lived envi­ron­men­tal toxins from indus­tri­al pro­ces­ses and con­ven­tio­nal agri­cul­tu­re end­an­ger spe­ci­es that are high up in the food chain, inclu­ding polar bears, ivo­ry gulls and glau­cous gulls. This is well known and a num­ber of stu­dies have been made on the phy­io­lo­gi­cal effects of the harmful sub­s­tances, which in the arc­tic are espe­ci­al­ly long-lived becau­se of the cold tem­pe­ra­tures, on the indi­vi­du­al ani­mal.

Sci­en­tists from the Nor­we­gi­an insti­tu­te for rese­arch on natu­re (NINA) have now tried to quan­ti­fy the effects on a popu­la­ti­on level. The stu­dy has been made on glau­cous gulls on Bear Island. One of the results is that glau­cous gulls with high levels of toxins have alar­ming annu­al sur­vi­val rates of only 40-50 %.

Every year, dead glau­cous gulls are found on Bear Island that have high values of rele­vant sub­s­tances in their tis­sues. Due to its posi­ti­on and local cli­ma­te, Bear Island has some of the hig­hest con­cen­tra­ti­ons of envi­ron­men­tal toxins in the who­le Arc­tic.

Sam­pling a skua on Bear Island.

Glaucous gulls threatened by environmental toxins - Sampling a skua on Bear Island

Source: NINA


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