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Assessment of heavy metal contamination from penguins and anthropogenic activities on Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island, Antarctic

Chu, Zhuding, Yang, Zhongkang, Wang, Yuhong, Sun, Liguang, Yang, Wenqing, Yang, Lianjiao, Gao, Yuesong
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.646 pp. 951-957
anthropogenic activities, antimony, bioaccumulation, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, food chain, heavy metals, lacustrine sediments, lead, mercury, nickel, penguins, pollutants, zinc, Antarctic region
Fildes Peninsula, with a high density of scientific stations, has been significantly impacted by anthropogenic activities. However, the contamination from penguins, a biovector that transports pollutants from ocean to land, has seldom been assessed. In this study, 32 lacustrine surface sediment samples on Fildes Peninsula and 8 lacustrine surface sediment samples on Ardley Island were collected to determine Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cd, Co, Sb, Hg and P levels. The results showed that the heavy metal contents of lacustrine sediments on Ardley Island are significantly higher than those on Fildes Peninsula. The contaminants on Fildes Peninsula are mainly derived from anthropogenic activities, while the contaminants on Ardley Island are transported to the lacustrine sediments in the form of penguin guanos after a series of biomagnification in the food chain. The results indicated that the impact of penguin-transported contamination on Antarctic environment outweighs human activities near scientific stations in some areas. Therefore, more attention should be paid to the impacts of Antarctic animals on the Antarctic environment.