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Interspecific differences in concentrations and congener profiles of chlorinated and brominated organic pollutants in three insectivorous bird species

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

We investigated the accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in eggs of three insectivorous bird species, the great tit (Parus major), the Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and the Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus), near the harbour of Antwerp (Belgium). Our results show that lapwing eggs had the highest median concentrations of PCBs (4358 ng/g lw) and PBDEs (109 ng/g lw). Mediterranean gulls feed during breeding on ground-dwelling invertebrates on agricultural fields, which is reflected in higher OCP concentrations in eggs (1235 ng/g lw). Apart from differences in accumulation, also interspecific differences in contaminant profiles were investigated. Significant differences among species were found in the profile of PCBs, PBDEs and OCPs. These differences could be attributed to differences in diet, behaviour and metabolic capacity. Interestingly, the OCP profile in lapwing eggs deviated extremely from the two other species. In both great tit and Mediterranean gull eggs p,p-DDE was by far the most important compound, whereas in lapwing eggs hexachlorobenzene, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and even p,p-DDT were relatively more abundant than p,p-DDE. The high p,p-DDT/p,p-DDE ratio has previously been described in lapwings, which suggests that low p,p-DDE accumulation in eggs might be inherent for this species.
Journal: Environment International
ISSN: 0160-4120
Volume: 35
Pages: 369 - 375
Publication year:2009