Main content area

Concentration of trace elements in feathers of three Antarctic penguins: Geographical and interspecific differences

Jerez, Silvia, Motas, Miguel, Palacios, María José, Valera, Francisco, Cuervo, José Javier, Barbosa, Andrés
Environmental pollution 2011 v.159 no.10 pp. 2412-2419
aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, feathers, humans, interspecific variation, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, penguins, pollutants, selenium, zinc, Antarctic region, Antarctica
Antarctica is often considered as one of the last pristine regions, but it could be affected by pollution at global and local scale. Concentrations of Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb were determinated by ICP-MS in feathers (n = 207 individuals) of gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin collected in 8 locations throughout the Antarctic Peninsula (2006–2007). The highest levels of several elements were found in samples from King George Island (8.08, 20.29 and 1.76 μg g⁻¹ dw for Cr, Cu and Pb, respectively) and Deception Island (203.13, 3.26 and 164.26 μg g⁻¹ dw for Al, Mn and Fe, respectively), where probably human activities and large-scale transport of pollutants contribute to increase metal levels. Concentrations of Cr, Mn, Cu, Se or Pb, which are similar to others found in different regions of the world, show that some areas in Antarctica are not utterly pristine.