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Bioenrichment of trace elements in a series of ponds near a northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) colony at Cape Vera, Devon Island

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Seabirds are an important link between their marine feeding areas and their terrestrial breeding environments, transporting both marine-derived nutrients and contaminants and then depositing them on land in their guano. In this study, the impact of a large northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) colony on the water chemistry of 26 nearby ponds spanning a gradient of seabird influence was investigated at Cape Vera, Devon Island, in the Canadian High Arctic. The presence of the fulmar colony has led to nutrient and trace element enrichment in the ponds, as evidenced by the close association among As, Cd, Co, Cu, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Sb, and Sr and the ornithogenic gradient. The ponds most affected by the fulmar colony were characterized by increased primary production, high organic carbon concentrations, and elevated pH — conditions favorable for the insitu removal of metals from the water column. Despite this, the highest trace element concentrations were observed in the seabird-influenced ponds, suggesting that these elements have undergone biotransport.

Les oiseaux marins constituent un lien important entre leurs sites marins d’alimentation et leurs environnements terrestres de reproduction, car ils transportent à la fois des nutriments et des contaminants d’origine marine et les déposent sur terre dans leur guano. Nous évaluons, dans notre étude, l’impact d’une grande colonie de fulmars boréaux (Fulmarus glacialis) sur la chimie de l’eau de 26 étangs adjacents formant un gradient d’influence des oiseaux marins au cap Vera, île Devon, dans le haut-arctique canadien. La présence de la colonie de fulmars boréaux provoque un enrichissement des étangs en nutriments et en éléments en trace, comme le démontre l’association étroite entre As, Cd, Co, Cu, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Sb et Sr et le gradient ornithogène. Les étangs les plus affectés par la colonie de fulmars boréaux se caractérisent par une production primaire accrue, de fortes concentrations de carbone organique et un pH élevé— des conditions favorables au retrait in situ des métaux de la colonne d’eau. Malgré cela, les concentrations les plus élevées de métaux en trace s’observent dans les étangs influencés par les oiseaux marins, ce qui laisse croire que ces éléments subissent un transport biologique.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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