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Paris, 2 April 2014

Mercury contamination threatens Antarctic birds

Mercury contamination in the Antarctic and Subantarctic affects bird populations, reveal researchers from the Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé and from the 'Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés' Laboratory (CNRS / Université de La Rochelle). The scientists monitored skuas in Adélie Land and the Kerguelen Islands for ten years and showed that, when these seabirds exhibit high mercury levels in their blood, their breeding success decreases. This is the first time that toxicological measurements have been combined with a population study carried out over such a long period in the Antarctic and Subantarctic. The results, published in the journal Ecology in April 2014, show that pollutants that accumulate at the Poles can indeed cause a decline in bird populations.

To download the press release : CP_Skua

References:

Demographic responses to mercury exposure in two closely-related Antarctic top predators. Goutte A., Bustamante P., Barbraud C., Delord K., Weimerskirch H., Chastel O.. Ecology. April 2014
DOI: 10.1890/13-1229.1

Contact information:

CNRS researcher l Olivier Chastel l T +33 5 49 09 78 37 l olivier.chastel@cebc.cnrs.fr
CNRS Press Office l Priscilla Dacher l T +33 1 44 96 46 06 l priscilla.dacher@cnrs-dir.fr


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