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Causes and consequences of high loads of biomagnifying pollutants in avian top predators in the Arctic (AviTox)

Although the Arctic Sea is remote and considered pristine, paradoxically the marine food chain is highly loaded by persistent environmental contaminants. Such pollutants bio-magnify in food chains and arctic seabirds often suffer from high concentrations. The research on environmental contaminants in Arctic has developed substantially over the last

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Project date

Starts
2014-05-01

Ends
2017-08-31

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Project type

  • field work
  • long-term monitoring

Discipline

  • marine biology
  • terrestrial biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / species/population interactions
  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / community dynamics
  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / ecotoxicology
  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / marine habitat
  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / benthic habitat

Fieldwork information

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Type Period From To Coordinates Station Location
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Summary

Although the Arctic Sea is remote and considered pristine, paradoxically the marine food chain is highly loaded by persistent environmental contaminants. Such pollutants bio-magnify in food chains and arctic seabirds often suffer from high concentrations. The research on environmental contaminants in Arctic has developed substantially over the last decade, and seabirds have been at the core of this achievement. In this project the focus is on arctic seabird species occupying different positions in the food chain. The project focuses specifically on establishing the origin of organic pollutants and mercury, and the role of seabirds as vectors for such compounds. It will also examine the physiological stress caused by different contaminants measured through biomarker responses, and finally the ecological impact that contaminants have on seabird populations in a changing environment through the use of population modeling. Such an approach will bridge and extend the more patterns-oriented empirical studies with more process-oriented modeling approaches. Hence, the project aims at exploring the true role of pollution as an anthropogenic driver in Arctic ecosystems.

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