Hydrobiologia, 567(1):263-274, 9, 2006. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Results from recent studies report increases in mercury in the environment and increased bioaccumulation in aquatic foodwebs.TheCanadianWildlife Service (CWS) and theCanadianNational Park Service initiated this study to determine whether common loons (Gavia immer) are exposed to sufficiently high mercury concen-trations in prey fish to impair their reproduction and survival.Monitoring of loon reproduction, measurement of lake physicochemistry, and fish sampling for mercury analysis were conducted in various regions in Que´ bec, Canada, during summers from 1997 to 2002. Reproductive success was assessed and loons were captured at night and banded. Blood and feathers were collected to measure mercury. Mean blood and feather Hg con-centrations inmales (2.6 lg/g w.wand 17.6 lg/g d.w.) and females (1.8 lg/g w.wand 8.9 lg/g d.w.)were within the normal range of samples from north-eastern North America. However, one third (33%) of the loons sampled had mercury levels in blood or feathers exceeding the high risk levels for health and reproduction. Loons from western Que´ bec showed significantly lower Hg levels than those from eastern Que´ bec, both in blood and feathers.This study will help to determine the potential effects of mercury on theQue´ bec andNorth-American loon population and provide information to assist in decisions on pollution abatement policies.