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Spatial and interspecific variation of accumulated trace metals between remote and urbane dwelling birds of Pakistan

Abbasi, Naeem Akhtar, Khan, Muhammad Usman, Jaspers, Veerle Leontina Bernard, Chaudhry, Muhammad Jamshed Iqbal, Malik, Riffat Naseem
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2015 v.113 pp. 279-286
Anatidae, Motacillidae, Sturnidae, anthropogenic activities, cadmium, chromium, copper, feathers, industrialization, insectivores, interspecific variation, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, omnivores, pollutants, pollution load, principal component analysis, urbanization, water birds, zinc, Pakistan
The current study was designed to evaluate the hypothesis that birds of urbanized and/or industrialized origin depict higher metal accumulation as compared to remote dwellers. We selected seven representative species from three families (Anatidae, Motacillidae and Sturnidae) at two different locations; Baroghil valley (remote location) and Soan valley (urbanized location) of Pakistan and analyzed the concentrations of 8 metals Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Cu, Mn, Fe and Zn in feathers of these species. Feathers from Soan valley which is under higher anthropogenic influence exhibited significantly (P<0.001) higher metal concentrations when compared with the feathers of the same species at Baroghil valley which has negligible anthropogenic input. Terrestrial birds of the Baroghil valley revealed greater metal loads than aquatic birds while at Soan valley it was vice versa. In general, elevated concentrations of metals were recorded in insectivorous species as compared to omnivorous species. Within each location, species belonging to Anatidae and Motacillidae revealed similar metal contamination patterns. Principal component Analysis (PCA) based on correlation matrices depicted a clear tendency of metals towards the species originating from areas with greater pollution load (Soan valley) than relatively undisturbed sites (Baroghil valley) and hence corroborated our hypothesis. The pattern of metal accumulation in feathers of both the locations suggested that there may be a flux of migration between the two regions and/or trans-boundary movement of pollutants/metals, which either singly or synergistically influence the overall metal profile in the studied bird species.