Urban proximity while breeding is not a predictor of perfluoroalkyl substance contamination in the eggs of brown pelicans.

The Science of the Total Environment
Bradley P WilkinsonPatrick G R Jodice


Identifying sources of exposure to chemical stressors is difficult when both target organisms and stressors are highly mobile. While previous studies have demonstrated that populations of some organisms proximal to urban centers may display increased burdens of human-created chemicals compared to more distal populations, this relationship may not be universal when applied to organisms and stressors capable of transboundary movements. We examined eggs of brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), a nearshore seabird with daily movements ranging from local to 50 km and annual migrations ranging from year-round residency to 1500 km. Thirty-six eggs from three breeding colonies located at increasing distances to a major urban center (Charleston, South Carolina, USA) were analyzed for concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Areas of high use for each colony during the breeding season were also assessed via the tracking of adult pelicans from each colony using GPS-PTT satellite transmitters and overlapped with measures of relative urbanization via land cover data. We report potentially significant ∑PFAS concentrations in the eggs of pelicans (175.4 ± 120.1 ng/g w wt. SD), driven largely by linear perfluorooctane s...Continue Reading

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