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Home* News and Stories → Glaucous gulls threatened by environmental toxins

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

last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange