The Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) as an Indicator of Chemical Contaminants in the Canadian Pacific Marine Environment: Evidence from Stable Isotopes

The Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) as an Indicator of Chemical Contaminants in the... The Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) has been selected by Environment Canada as a marine indicator species for long-term monitoring of persistent contaminants in the Canadian Pacific. However, the indicator value of this species depends on its trophic level and proportion of marine prey in its diet. Eggs, used as the monitoring medium, are produced entirely from maternal resources and knowledge of adult diet before and during egg production is critical to interpreting contaminant levels. Due to a lack of recent and reliable dietary ecology work, we examined the diet of breeding Glaucous-winged gulls through carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope analysis at three colonies on the Pacific coast. Near-shore marine prey, occupying a high trophic level (δ15N), composed a predominant component of all Glaucous-winged gull diet. Adult diet composition from colonies in the Salish Sea was more varied than the west coast of Vancouver Island, reflecting the opportunistic foraging nature of this species in areas where the abundance of marine prey is known to fluctuate. Compared with incubating adults, pre-laying adults had a significantly lower trophic level that may reflect the need to consume marine invertebrates to acquire specific nutrients necessary for egg production. Interannual variation in both trophic level and prey source (δ13C) in egg and chick tissues indicates the need to pair ongoing contaminant monitoring with stable isotope analysis. The predominantly marine diet and relatively high trophic level of this gull supports its use as an indicator of marine pollution on the Pacific coast. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Springer Journals

The Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) as an Indicator of Chemical Contaminants in the Canadian Pacific Marine Environment: Evidence from Stable Isotopes

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by: John E. Elliott
Subject
Environment; Ecotoxicology; Pollution, general; Environmental Health; Environmental Chemistry; Soil Science & Conservation; Monitoring/Environmental Analysis
ISSN
0090-4341
eISSN
1432-0703
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00244-017-0368-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) has been selected by Environment Canada as a marine indicator species for long-term monitoring of persistent contaminants in the Canadian Pacific. However, the indicator value of this species depends on its trophic level and proportion of marine prey in its diet. Eggs, used as the monitoring medium, are produced entirely from maternal resources and knowledge of adult diet before and during egg production is critical to interpreting contaminant levels. Due to a lack of recent and reliable dietary ecology work, we examined the diet of breeding Glaucous-winged gulls through carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope analysis at three colonies on the Pacific coast. Near-shore marine prey, occupying a high trophic level (δ15N), composed a predominant component of all Glaucous-winged gull diet. Adult diet composition from colonies in the Salish Sea was more varied than the west coast of Vancouver Island, reflecting the opportunistic foraging nature of this species in areas where the abundance of marine prey is known to fluctuate. Compared with incubating adults, pre-laying adults had a significantly lower trophic level that may reflect the need to consume marine invertebrates to acquire specific nutrients necessary for egg production. Interannual variation in both trophic level and prey source (δ13C) in egg and chick tissues indicates the need to pair ongoing contaminant monitoring with stable isotope analysis. The predominantly marine diet and relatively high trophic level of this gull supports its use as an indicator of marine pollution on the Pacific coast.

Journal

Archives of Environmental Contamination and ToxicologySpringer Journals

Published: May 20, 2017

References

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