Persistent pollutants in fresh and abandoned eggs of Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) and Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) in Ireland
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Higher levels of persistent pollutants (Σ16PCB, Σ6PBDE, ΣHCH, ΣDDT, ΣCHL) were detected in fresh eggs of Common Terns Sterna hirundo from Rockabill Island near Dublin (Ireland's industrialised capital city) compared to Common and Arctic Terns S. paradisaea from Ireland's west coast. Intra-clutch variation of pollutant levels in Common Terns was shown to be low, providing further evidence that random sampling of one egg may be an appropriate sampling strategy. Significant differences in pollutant concentrations were detected between fresh and abandoned eggs on Rockabill. However, abandoned eggs can still provide a useful approximation of pollutants in bird eggs if non-destructive sampling is preferred. Levels of p,p’ –DDE in tern eggs have decreased over time according to this study, in concurrence with worldwide trends. Results in this study fall below toxicological thresholds for birds and OSPARs EcoQO thresholds set for Common Tern eggs, except for mercury and HCH in the west coast.
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