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    Cadmium (Cd) is a trace element of toxicological concern that has been monitored in marine birds inhabiting the Canadian Arctic since 1975. Despite nearly 50 years of monitoring, research to date has largely evaluated single species, locations, or time points, and there is as of yet no holistic overview that jointly considers all available Cd data. We addressed this information gap by combining and analyzing most of the existing data on hepatic Cd concentrations in marine birds from the Canadian Arctic. Using data collected between 1975 and 2018 from eight seabird species from 12 Arctic breeding colonies, we examined temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation in hepatic Cd levels, and we evaluated possible drivers of marine bird Cd loads. Hepatic Cd concentrations ranged from 1.6 to 124 μg/g dry weight across species, and were highest in thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) and king eiders (Somateria spectabilis), and lowest in black guillemots (Cepphus grylle), black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis). All sites with multiple years of data showed interannual fluctuations in Cd, which were correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and with the previous year's June sea ice coverage, where marine birds exhibited higher Cd concentrations in positive NAO years and following years with lower sea ice coverage. Climate change is likely to shift the NAO to being more negative and to reduce sea ice coverage, and our results thus identify various ways by which climate change could alter Cd concentrations in marine birds in the Canadian Arctic. Understanding variations in marine bird contaminant burdens, and how these may be alters by other stressors such as climate change, is important for long-term marine bird conservation efforts. Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.


    Kristin Bianchini, Mark L Mallory, Jennifer F Provencher. Trends in hepatic cadmium concentrations in marine bird species from the Canadian Arctic. The Science of the total environment. 2023 Feb 01;858(Pt 3):159959

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    PMID: 36343822

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