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Title: Assessing heavy metal pollution using Great Tits (Parus major): feathers and excrements from nestlings and adults
Author: Costa, R. A.
Eeva, T.
Eira, C.
Vaqueiro, J.
Vingada, J. V.
Keywords: Biomonitoring
Feathers and excrements
Great tit nestlings
Heavy metal pollution
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Springer
Abstract: Passerine species have been increasingly used as bioindicators of metal bioaccumulation especially by taking benefit of non-invasive procedures, such as collecting feathers and excrements. In 2009, metal (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se and Zn) concentrations were determined in feathers and excrements of nestling and adult female great tits (Parus major) in industrial (a paper mill) and rural sites in maritime pine forests on the west coast of Portugal. The aim of this study was to compare the levels of metals between the areas but also between sampling methods (feather vs. excrement) and age classes (nestling vs. adult). Although excrements and feathers of nestling great tits showed different concentrations, similar patterns of accumulation were detected in both study areas. There was a significantly higher concentration of mercury in the industrial area and significantly higher concentrations of arsenic in the rural area in both sample types. Metal levels in adult females had quite different results when compared to nestlings, and only nickel presented significantly higher levels near the paper mill. Since metal levels showed a consistent pattern in feathers and excrements of nestling great tits, we conclude that both represent good and non-invasive methods for the evaluation of these elements in polluted areas.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-012-2949-6
ISSN: 0167-6369
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos

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