Toxicology of the Svalbard Atlantic Puffin
The Arctic is a sink for pollutants that accumulate there via long-range transport and biomagnification of persistent organic pollutant (POPs). The main objectives of this study were to identify the pollutants in the Svalbard Atlantic puffin and to compare their levels with southern puffin colonies and Svalbard seabird species to assess risk to the puffin. Svalbard Samples were analysed for contaminants and compared to other puffin colonies and Svalbard seabirds. Cameras were also used to identify puffin prey. The Svalbard puffins were found to be less contaminated than the puffin colonies in north-east Norway and similar to Røst, perhaps due to distance from the polluted Barents Sea and the low contamination of the Svalbard puffin’s prey. Svalbard puffins also had POP levels unexpectedly like Brünnich’s guillemots and little auks, occupying a lower trophic level. Black guillemots’ and kittiwake’s trophic level is like puffins, but the kittiwake had higher POP levels. The glaucous gull also had high PCB as expected, but low HCB, oxy-chlordane, and PFASs, possibly due to diet. Based on this, the Svalbard puffin should be at low risk for effects from contamination though further study is necessary as climate change is expected to exacerbate the influence of POPs.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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