Trace element accumulation in relation to trophic niches of shorebirds using intertidal mudflats

Abstract : This study investigated the link between trace element concentrations and respective diets of two shorebird species present in the Pertuis Charentais, Atlantic coast of France: the Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and Redshank (Tringa totanus). Trace elements concentrations (Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, Zn) were investigated in the liver, kidney, muscle and feathers of 28 dunlins and 15 redshanks accidentally dead during catches by mist net. Analyses of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were carried out in liver, muscle and feathers to determine whether differences in diet explained the variations in elemental levels. These results were compared to previous data obtained on two other shorebird species present on the same sites: the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) and Red Knot (Calidris canutus). This study demonstrated that shorebirds of the Pertuis Charentais were characterized by differential trace element bioaccumulation. Arsenic and Se concentrations were elevated in red knots and dunlins, whereas redshanks displayed higher Cd concentrations in internal tissues. These trace element bioaccumulation discrepancies could mainly come from divergences of trophic habits between shorebirds. Species with the highest trophic position displayed the highest Hg concentrations in the liver, muscle and feathers demonstrating therefore the biomagnification potential of this metal, as opposed to Cd and Pb. The same trend was observed in muscle and feathers for Se and only in feathers for As. These data highlighted the need to study several tissues to obtain a full comprehension of trace element exposure and pathways especially for long-distance migrating species using various habitats and sites.
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Magali Lucia, Pierrick Bocher, Mélanie Chambosse, Philippe Delaporte, Paco Bustamante. Trace element accumulation in relation to trophic niches of shorebirds using intertidal mudflats. Journal of Sea Research, Elsevier, 2014, 92 (C), pp.134 - 143. ⟨10.1016/j.seares.2013.08.008⟩. ⟨hal-01079073⟩

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