Plasma concentrations of organohalogenated contaminants in white-tailed eagle nestlings – The role of age and diet
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEnvironmental Pollution. 2019, 246 527-534. 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.12.028
Concentrations of organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) can show significant temporal and spatial variation in the environment and wildlife. Most of the variation is due to changes in use and production, but environmental and biological factors may also contribute to the variation. Nestlings of top predators are exposed to maternally transferred OHCs in the egg and through their dietary intake after hatching. The present study investigated spatial and temporal variation of OHCs and the role of age and diet on these variations in plasma of Norwegian white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings. The nestlings were sampled at two locations, Smøla and Steigen, in 2015 and 2016. The age of the nestlings was recorded (range: 44 - 87 days old) and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) were applied as dietary proxies for carbon source and trophic position, respectively. In total, 14 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, range: 0.82 - 59.05 ng/mL), 7 organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs, range: 0.89 - 52.19 ng/mL), 5 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, range: 0.03 - 2.64 ng/mL) and 8 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs, range: 4.58 - 52.94 ng/mL) were quantified in plasma samples from each location and year. The OHC concentrations, age and dietary proxies displayed temporal and spatial variations. The age of the nestlings was indicated as the most important predictor for OHC variation as the models displayed significantly decreasing plasma concentrations of PCBs, OCPs, and PBDEs with increasing age, while concentrations of PFASs were significantly increasing with age. Together with age, the variations in PCB, OCP and PBDE concentrations were also explained by δ13C and indicated decreasing concentrations with a more marine diet. Our findings emphasise age and diet as important factors to consider when investigating variations in plasma OHC concentrations in nestlings.