Publications by authors named "Torgeir Nygård"

30 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Occurrence of Bisphenols and Benzophenone UV Filters in White-Tailed Eagles () from Smøla, Norway.

Toxics 2021 Feb 9;9(2). Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), 7491 Trondheim, Norway.

There is a growing concern about the occurrence of bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters in natural ecosystems, while data are limited regarding their actual occurrence in wildlife species, especially in raptors. In this study, concentrations of bisphenol and benzophenone UV filter analogues were determined in liver tissue samples ( = 38) from white-tailed eagles () that were found dead in Smøla (2006-2018), which is a Norwegian municipality that holds one of the densest breeding populations of white-tailed eagles in Europe. Bisphenol AF (BPAF; a fluorinated analogue) was the most ubiquitous contaminant since it was detected in 32 liver samples at concentrations ranging from 1.08 to 6.68 ng/g wet weight (w.w.), followed by bisphenol A (BPA, mean 10.4 ng/g w.w.), benzophenone-1 (BzP-1, mean 3.24 ng/g w.w.), and 4-hydroxybenzophenone (4-OH-BzP, mean 0.62 ng/g w.w.). The concentrations found in livers suggested that white-tailed eagles potentially accumulate bisphenols and benzophenone UV filters, which raises concern, as these plastic and personal care product-related emerging contaminants can show endocrine-disrupting properties. The high detection frequency of the fluorinated BPAF warrants further attention as other fluorinated compounds have proven to be extremely persistent and potentially harmful to wildlife.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxics9020034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7914477PMC
February 2021

Paint it black: Efficacy of increased wind turbine rotor blade visibility to reduce avian fatalities.

Ecol Evol 2020 Aug 26;10(16):8927-8935. Epub 2020 Jul 26.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research Norway.

As wind energy deployment increases and larger wind-power plants are considered, bird fatalities through collision with moving turbine rotor blades are expected to increase. However, few (cost-) effective deterrent or mitigation measures have so far been developed to reduce the risk of collision. Provision of "passive" visual cues may enhance the visibility of the rotor blades enabling birds to take evasive action in due time. Laboratory experiments have indicated that painting one of three rotor blades black minimizes motion smear (Hodos 2003, ). We tested the hypothesis that painting would increase the visibility of the blades, and that this would reduce fatality rates in situ, at the Smøla wind-power plant in Norway, using a Before-After-Control-Impact approach employing fatality searches. The annual fatality rate was significantly reduced at the turbines with a painted blade by over 70%, relative to the neighboring control (i.e., unpainted) turbines. The treatment had the largest effect on reduction of raptor fatalities; no white-tailed eagle carcasses were recorded after painting. Applying contrast painting to the rotor blades significantly reduced the collision risk for a range of birds. Painting the rotor blades at operational turbines was, however, resource demanding given that they had to be painted while in-place. However, if implemented before construction, this cost will be minimized. It is recommended to repeat this experiment at other sites to ensure that the outcomes are generic at various settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6592DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7452767PMC
August 2020

Effect of tower base painting on willow ptarmigan collision rates with wind turbines.

Ecol Evol 2020 Jun 29;10(12):5670-5679. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) Trondheim Norway.

Birds colliding with turbine rotor blades is a well-known negative consequence of wind-power plants. However, there has been far less attention to the risk of birds colliding with the turbine towers, and how to mitigate this risk.Based on data from the Smøla wind-power plant in Central Norway, it seems highly likely that willow ptarmigan (the only gallinaceous species found on the island) is prone to collide with turbine towers. By employing a BACI-approach, we tested if painting the lower parts of turbine towers black would reduce the collision risk.Overall, there was a 48% reduction in the number of recorded ptarmigan carcasses per search at painted turbines relative to neighboring control (unpainted) ones, with significant variation both within and between years.Using contrast painting to the turbine towers resulted in significantly reduced number of ptarmigan carcasses found, emphasizing the effectiveness of such a relatively simple mitigation measure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6307DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319111PMC
June 2020

High-Resolution Modeling of Uplift Landscapes can Inform Micrositing of Wind Turbines for Soaring Raptors.

Environ Manage 2020 09 24;66(3):319-332. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, P.O. 5685 Torgarden, 7485, Trondheim, Norway.

Collision risk of soaring birds is partly associated with updrafts to which they are attracted. To identify the risk-enhancing landscape features, a micrositing tool was developed to model orographic and thermal updraft velocities from high-resolution remote sensing data. The tool was applied to the island of Hitra, and validated using GPS-tracked white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Resource selection functions predicted that eagles preferred ridges with high orographic uplift, especially at flight altitudes within the rotor-swept zone (40-110 m). Flight activity was negatively associated with the widely distributed areas with high thermal uplift at lower flight altitudes (<110 m). Both the existing wind-power plant and planned extension are placed at locations rendering maximum orographic updraft velocities around the minimum sink rate for white-tailed eagles (0.75 m/s) but slightly higher thermal updraft velocities. The tool can contribute to improve micrositing of wind turbines to reduce the environmental impacts, especially for soaring raptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-020-01318-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7434798PMC
September 2020

No evidence of avian influenza antibodies in two species of raptor nestlings inhabiting Norway.

BMC Vet Res 2019 Oct 28;15(1):375. Epub 2019 Oct 28.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Høgskoleringen 5, NO-7491, Trondheim, Norway.

Background: Since 2016, incursions of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N8 clade 2.3.4.4b have caused unprecedented clinical signs and mortality in white-tailed eagles (WTE; Haliaeetus albicilla) across Europe and have been found to be infecting other raptor species, such as the northern goshawk (NG; Accipiter gentilis). Before this study, no screening of Norwegian raptors had been undertaken.

Results: Plasma samples from 43 white-tailed eagle and 29 northern goshawk nestlings, from several locations across Norway were screened for antibodies to avian influenza viruses. No antibodies, and thus, no evidence of AIV exposure, were found in these Norwegian raptors. No clinical signs of AIV were observed in 43 white tailed eagles and 29 northern goshawks.

Conclusions: There are currently no indications that white-tailed eagles and northern goshawks inhabiting Norway are threatened by the recent HPAIV outbreaks in other areas of Europe. Ongoing monitoring should, however, be maintained to detect potential future outbreaks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-019-2133-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816168PMC
October 2019

Population recovery of peregrine falcons in central Norway in the 4 decades since the DDT-ban.

Ecotoxicology 2019 Dec 17;28(10):1160-1168. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Kaldalvegen 371, 7750, Namdalseid, Norway.

The breeding population of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) in Norway was almost exterminated by the early 1970's. Long-term monitoring of breeding pairs has been conducted since 1976 up to present. Peregrine falcons were first established at breeding sites in coastal habitats, where they remained at stable low numbers until the early 1990's. Starting around 2000, numbers began to increase steadily, and current numbers have now reached historical population levels from the pre-DDT era. We documented a range expansion with increasing numbers of peregrines nesting in the fjords and inland valleys. We found that once a territory was colonized, the probability that a territory remained occupied was high (S > 0.958). During early stages of population recovery, the transitional probabilities of becoming or remaining a breeding territory were high (ψ > 0.40, ψ > 0.65) but declined over time, especially in coastal habitats. Moreover, the productivity per nest has also decreased over time at sites in coastal habitats in the former stronghold of the population. The levels of environmental pollutants in eggs of the peregrines have dropped sharply over the last few decades, and contaminant levels now seem to be below critical levels. Eggshells were relatively thin throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, but have increased to almost normal levels during the last 2 decades. Reductions in levels of organochlorine pollutants, especially DDT, appear to have been the main factor in explaining the population recovery. The territory dynamics are consistent with density-dependence and the low breeding success of the coastal-breeding peregrines is believed to be caused by declining numbers of colonial seabirds and other prey species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10646-019-02111-4DOI Listing
December 2019

Integrated exposure assessment of northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings to legacy and emerging organic pollutants using non-destructive samples.

Environ Res 2019 11 19;178:108678. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Biology, Høgskoleringen 5, 7491, Trondheim, Norway. Electronic address:

In the present study, concentrations of legacy and emerging contaminants were determined in three non-destructive matrices (plasma, preen oil and body feathers) of northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), together with emerging pollutants, including per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) and Dechlorane Plus isomers (DPs) were targeted. Plasma, preen oil and feather samples were collected from 61 goshawk nestlings in Norway (Trøndelag and Troms) in 2015 and 2016, and pollutant concentrations were compared between the three matrices. In plasma, PFASs were detected in the highest concentrations, ranging between 1.37 and 36.0 ng/mL, which suggests that the nestlings were recently and continuously exposed to these emerging contaminants, likely through dietary input. In preen oil, OCPs (169-3560 ng/g) showed the highest concentrations among the investigated compounds, consistent with their high lipophilicity. PFRs (2.60-314 ng/g) were the dominant compounds in feathers and are thought to originate mainly from external deposition, as they were not detected in the other two matrices. NBFRs and DPs were generally not detected in the nestlings, suggesting low presence of these emerging contaminants in their environment and/or low absorption. Strong and significant correlations between matrices were found for all POPs (r = 0.46-0.95, p < 0.001), except for hexachlorobenzene (HCB, r = 0.20, p = 0.13). Correlations for PFASs were less conclusive: linear perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluoroundecanoate (PFUnA), perfluorododecanoate (PFDoA) and perfluorotetradecanoate (PFTeA) showed strong and significant correlations between plasma and feathers (r = 0.42-0.72, p < 0.02), however no correlation was found for perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorononanoate (PFNA) and perfluorotridecanoate (PFTriA) (r = 0.05-0.33, p = 0.09-0.85). A lack of consistency between the PFAS compounds (contrary to POPs), and between studies, prevents concluding on the suitability of the investigated matrices for PFAS biomonitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.108678DOI Listing
November 2019

Resource utilization by the Kori bustard in the Serengeti ecosystem.

PLoS One 2019 4;14(9):e0221035. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

This study aimed to understand the movement behaviour and utilization distributions of Kori bustards in space and time in the Serengeti ecosystem. A total of 14 individuals were tracked with the aid of GPS (Geographical positioning system) satellite transmitters, and their sexes were identified using DNA analysis. A species utilization distribution was estimated using the Brownian bridge movement model (hereafter dBBMM) in which the probability of being in an area is conditioned by starting and ending (GPS) relocations. Resource selections were analysed by comparing the GPS relocations with locations randomly placed within each individual's region of utilization in a spatio-temporal approach. Vegetation information was derived from a Serengeti GIS vegetation map and Data Centre and was reclassified as Open grassland, Dense grassland, Shrubbed grassland, Treed grassland, Shrubland, and Woodland. The Shannon diversity index for vegetation was calculated based on the original vegetation classification. Used versus non-used habitats were contrasted using a generalized linear mixed-effects model with a binomial distribution. The results indicated that males were 21.5% more mobile than females, and movements were 6.3% more diffuse during the non-breeding period compared to the breeding period (7.59 versus 7.14, respectively). Contrasting models indicated that males preferred more open grasslands during the non-breeding period and also preferred closed and shrubbed grassland during the breeding period. Females preferred more woody vegetation during the non-breeding season compared to the breeding season. The most parsimonious model indicated that females preferred to stay closer to rivers and diverse areas during the non-breeding period whereas males preferred areas that were farther from rivers and homogenous. Homogeneous areas were preferred during the breeding period, and heterogeneous areas were preferred during the non-breeding period. We conclude that the movement behaviours of Kori bustards changes with the season and habitat. Further research is needed to understand the factors driving the seasonal movement of Kori bustards in the Serengeti ecosystem.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221035PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6726138PMC
March 2020

The influence of natural variation and organohalogenated contaminants on physiological parameters in white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings from Norway.

Environ Res 2019 10 15;177:108586. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491, Trondheim, Norway. Electronic address:

Environmental exposure to organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs), even at low concentrations, may cause detrimental effects on the development and health of wild birds. The present study investigated if environmental exposure to OHCs may influence the variation of multiple physiological parameters in Norwegian white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings. Plasma and feather samples were obtained from 70 nestlings at two archipelagos in Norway in 2015 and 2016. The selected physiological parameters were plasma concentrations of thyroid hormones (thyroxine, T4 and triiodothyronine, T3), plasma proteins (prealbumin, albumin, α-, α-, β- and γ-globulins) and selected blood clinical chemical parameters (BCCPs) associated with liver and kidney functioning. Feather concentrations of corticosterone (CORT) were also included to investigate the overall stress level of the nestlings. Concentrations of all studied physiological parameters were within the ranges of those found in other species of free-living birds of prey nestlings and indicated that the white-tailed eagle nestlings were in good health. Our statistical models indicated that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and legacy OHCs, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorinated pesticides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, influenced only a minor fraction of the variation of plasma thyroid hormones, prealbumin and CORT (5-15%), and partly explained the selected BCCPs (<26%). Most of the variation in each studied physiological parameter was explained by variation between nests, which is most likely due to natural physiological variation of nestlings in these nests. This indicates the importance of accounting for between nest variation in future studies. In the present nestlings, OHC concentrations were relatively low and seem to have played a secondary role compared to natural variation concerning the variation of physiological parameters. However, our study also indicates a potential for OHC-induced effects on thyroid hormones, CORT, prealbumin and BCCPs, which could be of concern in birds exposed to higher OHC concentrations than the present white-tailed eagle nestlings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.108586DOI Listing
October 2019

Plasma concentrations of organohalogenated contaminants in white-tailed eagle nestlings - The role of age and diet.

Environ Pollut 2019 Mar 15;246:527-534. Epub 2018 Dec 15.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Høgskoleringen 5, 7491, Trondheim, Norway.

Concentrations of organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) can show significant temporal and spatial variation in the environment and wildlife. Most of the variation is due to changes in use and production, but environmental and biological factors may also contribute to the variation. Nestlings of top predators are exposed to maternally transferred OHCs in the egg and through their dietary intake after hatching. The present study investigated spatial and temporal variation of OHCs and the role of age and diet on these variations in plasma of Norwegian white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings. The nestlings were sampled at two locations, Smøla and Steigen, in 2015 and 2016. The age of the nestlings was recorded (range: 44 - 87 days old) and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δC and δN) were applied as dietary proxies for carbon source and trophic position, respectively. In total, 14 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, range: 0.82 - 59.05 ng/mL), 7 organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs, range: 0.89 - 52.19 ng/mL), 5 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, range: 0.03 - 2.64 ng/mL) and 8 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs, range: 4.58 - 52.94 ng/mL) were quantified in plasma samples from each location and year. The OHC concentrations, age and dietary proxies displayed temporal and spatial variations. The age of the nestlings was indicated as the most important predictor for OHC variation as the models displayed significantly decreasing plasma concentrations of PCBs, OCPs, and PBDEs with increasing age, while concentrations of PFASs were significantly increasing with age. Together with age, the variations in PCB, OCP and PBDE concentrations were also explained by δC and indicated decreasing concentrations with a more marine diet. Our findings emphasise age and diet as important factors to consider when investigating variations in plasma OHC concentrations in nestlings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.12.028DOI Listing
March 2019

White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) feathers from Norway are suitable for monitoring of legacy, but not emerging contaminants.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jan 24;647:525-533. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Høgskoleringen 5, 7491 Trondheim, Norway.

While feathers have been successfully validated for monitoring of internal concentrations of heavy metals and legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs), less is known about their suitability for monitoring of emerging contaminants (ECs). Our study presents a broad investigation of both legacy POPs and ECs in non-destructive matrices from a bird of prey. Plasma and feathers were sampled in 2015 and 2016 from 70 whitetailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings from two archipelagos in Norway. Preen oil was also sampled in 2016. Samples were analysed for POPs (polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs)) and ECs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), dechlorane plus (DPs), phosphate and novel brominated flame retardants (PFRs and NBFRs)). A total of nine PCBs, three OCPs, one PBDE and one PFAS were detected in over 50% of the plasma and feather samples within each sampling year and location. Significant and positive correlations were found between plasma, feathers and preen oil concentrations of legacy POPs and confirm the findings of previous research on the usefulness of these matrices for non-destructive monitoring. In contrast, the suitability of feathers for ECs seems to be limited. Detection frequencies (DF) of PFASs were higher in plasma (mean DF: 78%) than in feathers (mean DF: 38%). Only perfluoroundecanoic acid could be quantified in over 50% of both plasma and feather samples, yet their correlation was poor and not significant. The detection frequencies of PFRs, NBFRs and DPs were very low in plasma (mean DF: 1-13%), compared to feathers (mean DF: 10-57%). This may suggest external atmospheric deposition, rapid internal biotransformation or excretion of these compounds. Accordingly, we suggest prioritising plasma for PFASs analyses, while the sources of PFRs, NBFRs and DPs in feathers and plasma need further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.333DOI Listing
January 2019

Trace element concentrations in feathers and blood of Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings from Norway and Spain.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2017 Oct 5;144:564-571. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Electronic address:

Information on trace element pollution in the terrestrial environment and its biota is limited compared to the marine environment. In the present study, we collected body feathers and blood of 37 Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings from Tromsø (northern Norway), Trondheim (central Norway), and Murcia (southeastern Spain) to study regional exposure, hypothesizing the potential health risks of metals and other trace elements. Blood and body feathers were analyzed by a high resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS) for aluminum (Al), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), selenium (Se), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb). The influence of regional differences, urbanization and agricultural land usage in proximity to the nesting Northern goshawks was investigated using particular spatial analysis techniques. Most trace elements were detected below literature blood toxicity thresholds, except for elevated concentrations (mean ± SD µgml ww) found for Zn (5.4 ± 1.5), Cd (0.00023 ± 0.0002), and Hg (0.021 ± 0.01). Corresponding mean concentrations in feathers (mean ± SD µgg dw) were 82.0 ± 12.4, 0.0018 ± 0.002, and 0.26 ± 0.2 for Zn, Cd and Hg respectively. Multiple linear regressions indicated region was a significant factor influencing Al, Zn, Se and Hg feather concentrations. Blood Cd and Hg concentrations were significantly influenced by agricultural land cover. Urbanization did not have a significant impact on trace element concentrations in either blood or feathers. Overall metal and trace element levels do not indicate a high risk for toxic effects in the nestlings. Levels of Cd in Tromsø and Hg in Trondheim were however above sub-lethal toxic threshold levels. For holistic risk assessment purposes it is important that the concentrations found in the nestlings of this study indicate that terrestrial raptors are exposed to various trace elements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.06.062DOI Listing
October 2017

How many routes lead to migration? Comparison of methods to assess and characterize migratory movements.

J Anim Ecol 2016 Jan 1;85(1):54-68. Epub 2015 Dec 1.

Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology Department, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via Mach 1, 38010, San Michele all'Adige, TN, Italy.

Decreasing rate of migration in several species as a consequence of climate change and anthropic pressure, together with increasing evidence of space-use strategies intermediate between residency and complete migration, are very strong motivations to evaluate migration occurrence and features in animal populations. The main goal of this paper was to perform a relative comparison between methods for identifying and characterizing migration at the individual and population level on the basis of animal location data. We classified 104 yearly individual trajectories from five populations of three deer species as migratory or non-migratory, by means of three methods: seasonal home range overlap, spatio-temporal separation of seasonal clusters and the Net Squared Displacement (NSD) method. For migratory cases, we also measured timing and distance of migration and residence time on the summer range. Finally, we compared the classification in migration cases across methods and populations. All methods consistently identified migration at the population level, that is, they coherently distinguished between complete or almost complete migratory populations and partially migratory populations. However, in the latter case, methods coherently classified only about 50% of the single cases, that is they classified differently at the individual-animal level. We therefore infer that the comparison of methods may help point to 'less-stereotyped' cases in the residency-to-migration continuum. For cases consistently classified by all methods, no significant differences were found in migration distance, or residence time on summer ranges. Timing of migration estimated by NSD was earlier than by the other two methods, both for spring and autumn migrations. We suggest three steps to identify improper inferences from migration data and to enhance understanding of intermediate space-use strategies. We recommend (i) classifying migration behaviours using more than one method, (ii) performing sensitivity analysis on method parameters to identify the extent of the differences and (iii) investigating inconsistently classified cases as these may often be ecologically interesting (i.e. less-stereotyped migratory behaviours).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12449DOI Listing
January 2016

A broad cocktail of environmental pollutants found in eggs of three seabird species from remote colonies in Norway.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2015 Jun 5;34(6):1296-308. Epub 2015 May 5.

Department of Environmental Chemistry, Fram Centre, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Tromsø, Norway.

Eggs of 3 seabird species, common eider (Somateria mollisima), European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis aristotelis), and European herring gull (Larus argentatus), were surveyed for a broad range of legacy and emerging pollutants to assess chemical mixture exposure profiles of seabirds from the Norwegian marine environment. In total, 201 chemical substances were targeted for analysis ranging from metals, organotin compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and associated metabolites, chlorinated paraffins, chlorinated and nonchlorinated organic pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), dechlorane plus, octachlorostyrene, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), organophosphorous compounds, brominated and alkyl phenols, cyclic siloxanes, and phthalates. Of the chemicals targeted, 149 substances were found above the detection limits, with metals dominating the contaminant profile and comprising 60% of the total contaminant load. Polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, organophosphorous compounds, and PFAS were the dominant contaminant classes of organic pollutants found within the seabird species, with the highest loads occurring in herring gulls, followed by shag, and common eider. New generation pollutants (e.g., PFAS, organophosphorous compounds, and alkylphenols) were detected at similar or higher concentrations than the legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Time trends of reported concentrations of legacy POPs appear to have decreased in recent decades from the Norwegian coastal environment. Concentrations of detected pollutants do not appear to have a negative effect on seabird population development within the sampling area. Additional stress caused by pollutants, however, may affect seabird health more at the individual level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.2956DOI Listing
June 2015

Brominated and phosphorus flame retardants in White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings: bioaccumulation and associations with dietary proxies (δ¹³C, δ¹⁵N and δ³⁴S).

Sci Total Environ 2014 Apr 11;478:48-57. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Ethology Group, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium. Electronic address:

Very little is known on the exposure of high trophic level species to current-use brominated (BFRs) and phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), although observations on their persistence, bioaccumulation potential, and toxicity have been made. We investigated the accumulation of BFRs and PFRs, and their associations with dietary proxies (δ(13)C, δ(15)N and δ(34)S), in plasma and feathers of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings from Trøndelag, Norway. In addition to accumulation of a wide range of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners in both plasma and feathers, all non-PBDE BFRs and PFRs could be measured in feathers, while in plasma only two of six PFRs, i.e. tris-(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) and tris-(2,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCPP) were detected. PFR concentrations in feathers (0.95-3,000 ng g(-1)) were much higher than selected organochlorines (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (CB 153; 2.3-15 ng g(-1)) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE; 2.3-21 ng g(-1)), PBDEs (0.03-2.3 ng g(-1)) and non-PBDE BFRs (0.03-1.5 ng g(-1)). Non-significant associations of PFR concentrations in feathers with those in plasma (P ≥ 0.74), and their similarity to reported atmospheric PFR concentrations, may suggest atmospheric PFR deposition on feathers. Most OCs and PBDEs, as well as tris(chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(phenyl) phosphate (TPHP) and tri-(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) were associated to δ(15)N and/or δ(13)C (all P ≤ 0.02). Besides δ(15)N enrichment, δ(34)S was depleted in nestlings from fjords, inherently close to an urbanised centre. As such, both may have been a spatial proxy for anthropogenic disturbance, possible confounding their use as dietary proxy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.01.051DOI Listing
April 2014

Latitudinal distribution of persistent organic pollutants in pelagic and demersal marine fish on the Norwegian Coast.

Environ Sci Technol 2012 Jul 26;46(14):7836-43. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, FRAM - High North Research Centre on Climate and the Environment, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway.

The latitudinal distribution of persistent organic pollutants (POPs: legacy organochlorines [OCs], polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs,] and hexabromocyclododecane [HBCD]) was examined in livers of two species of marine fish, the pelagic saithe (Pollachius virens,n = 40) and the demersal cod (Gadus morhua,n = 40), along a south-north gradient (59°-70°N) on the Norwegian Coast. Cod had in general two to three times higher concentrations of POPs than saithe, probably because of higher exposure in the benthic food chain. The concentrations of heavy halogenated compounds were higher in the southernmost region than further north. Moreover, the POP pattern showed a gradual shift in the compositions from south to north, especially for OCs in cod: i.e. the relative importance of low-chlorinated polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and some OC-pesticides (e.g., hexachlorobenzen [HCB]) in the contaminant burdens increased with latitude. The latitudinal fractionation signal was weaker in saithe, possibly due to its pelagic and nomadic behavior. Hence, this study shows not only a strong latitudinal fractionation in the compositional patterns of POPs in marine fish but also the effects of habitat use and fish behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es301191tDOI Listing
July 2012

A comparison of non-destructive sampling strategies to assess the exposure of white-tailed eagle nestlings (Haliaeetus albicilla) to persistent organic pollutants.

Sci Total Environ 2011 Dec 20;410-411:258-65. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Ethology Research Group, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.

To circumvent difficulties associated with monitoring adult predatory birds, we investigated the feasibility of different non-destructive strategies for nestling white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). We were able to quantify polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) in body feathers (16.92, 3.37 and 7.81ngg(-1) dw, respectively), blood plasma (8.37, 0.32 and 5.22ngmL(-1) ww, respectively), and preen oil (1157.95, 30.92 and 440.74ngg(-1) ww, respectively) of all nestlings (N=14). Strong significant correlations between blood plasma and preen oil concentrations (0.565≤r≤0.801; P<0.05) indicate that preen oil levels closely reflect the internal state of contamination. We found fewer significant correlations between body feather and blood plasma concentrations, which were almost exclusively between PCB concentrations (0.554≤r≤0.737; P<0.05). These results differ from a previous study on younger nestlings, and may indicate that the nestlings studied here, ready to fledge the nest, were possibly undergoing certain physiological changes that may have confounded the use of body feathers as biomonitor matrix. Finally, we provide an integrated discussion on the use of body feathers and preen oil as non-destructive biomonitor strategies for nestling predatory birds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.09.070DOI Listing
December 2011

Do salmon farms increase the concentrations of mercury and other elements in wild fish?

J Environ Monit 2011 Jun 17;13(6):1687-94. Epub 2011 May 17.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Fram-High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway.

Earlier assessments have suggested that salmon farms may act as a source of mercury (Hg) and other elements in local marine environments. In this study, we measured 30 elements in the livers of demersal Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and pelagic saithe (Pollachius virens) caught in association with salmon farms (farm associated [FA]; n = 75) or at reference locations (control; n = 80) in three regions throughout the latitudinal extent of Norway (59-70° N). Concentrations of most elements (24 of 30) were higher (20-70%) in cod compared to saithe. In particular, Hg was 6.8 times higher in cod than saithe. Nine elements were significantly different between FA saithe and control saithe, but only four (Hg, U, Cr and Mn) were highest in FA saithe, and this pattern was only detected consistently across all locations for Hg. Thirteen elements differed in concentration between FA cod and control cod, but only three elements (U, Al and Ba) were higher in FA cod than controls, and this pattern was only detected consistently across all locations for Al. After controlling for a set of potentially confounding variables, the estimated concentrations of Hg in saithe livers were ∼80% higher in FA fish compared to controls. In contrast, Hg concentrations were ∼40% higher in control cod compared to FA cod. Our results do not support the notion that salmon farms in general increase the concentrations of potentially harmful elements in wild fish, and the distribution of Hg and other elements in cod and saithe in Norwegian coastal waters may be more influenced by habitat use, diet, geochemical conditions and water chemistry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c1em10083aDOI Listing
June 2011

Salmon farms as a source of organohalogenated contaminants in wild fish.

Environ Sci Technol 2010 Nov 26;44(22):8736-43. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, The Polar Environmental Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway.

Organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs), including organochlorines (OCs; PCB, and OC-pesticides), brominated flame retardants (BFRs; polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDE], hexabromocyclododecane [HBCD]) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), were measured in livers of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and saithe (Pollachius virens) caught in the vicinity of salmon farms (n = 75) and control sites (n = 80) in three regions (59°-70°N) in Norway. Forty-five percent of the farm-associated (FA) fish (60% of the saithe and 30% of the cod) and none of the control fish had salmon feed (aquaculture food pellets) in their digestive tracts. Concentrations of OCs and BFRs were about 50% higher and dominated more by persistent compounds in Atlantic cod compared to saithe. After controlling for a set of confounding variables (location, sex, size, weight, gonads size, hepatosomatic index, and % lipids in the liver), the concentrations of ∑OC and ∑BDE were 50% higher in FA cod compared to control fish, whereas they were 20% higher in FA saithe than control fish. Hence, salmon farms are a source of lipid-soluble OHCs to wild marine fish, but variation in life-history and habitat use seems to affect the levels of OHCs in the different fish species. In contrast to the lipid-soluble OHCs, control fish had 67% higher PFOS levels than FA fish, which suggests that natural food contains higher loads of this compound than the commercial feed used in salmon farms. Some OHCs are known to act as endocrine disruptors, thus further work is required to determine if OHCs negatively affect reproductive processes of wild fish associated with salmon farms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es102195dDOI Listing
November 2010

Diastereomer-specific bioaccumulation of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in a coastal food web, Western Norway.

Sci Total Environ 2010 Nov 15;408(23):5910-6. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Norwegian Institute for Air Research, NO-2027 Kjeller, Norway.

The present study reports diastereomer-specific accumulation of HBCD from a point source in five marine species representing a typical food web in a Norwegian coastal area. Samples of mussels, polychaetes, crabs and seabird eggs were analyzed for the diastereomers α-, β- and γ-HBCD, as well as lipid content and stable isotopes of nitrogen ((15)N/(14)N) to estimate trophic level. Accumulated HBCD did not correlate well with lipid content for most of the species, thus wet-weight based concentrations were included in an assessment of biomagnification. In contrast to β- and γ-HBCD, the α-diastereomer increased significantly with trophic level, resulting in magnification factors >1 in this coastal marine ecosystem. Data for poikilotherms did not show the same positive correlation between the α-diastereomer and trophic position as homeotherms. The apparent biomagnification of the α-HBCD could be due to bioisomerization or diastereomer-specific elimination that differed between poikilotherms and homeotherms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.08.026DOI Listing
November 2010

Fluctuating wing asymmetry and hepatic concentrations of persistent organic pollutants are associated in European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) chicks.

Sci Total Environ 2010 Jan 6;408(3):578-85. Epub 2009 Nov 6.

Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.

In aquatic birds, high body burdens of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been associated with developmental effects related to growth, increased fluctuating wing asymmetry, and disruption of the thyroid hormone, vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin E (tocopherol) homeostasis. The aim of the present study was to examine if morphological variables (body mass, liver mass, wing length, tarsus length and head length), fluctuating asymmetry of the wings and tarsus, growth rates and endocrine variables (thyroid hormones, retinol and tocopherol) were associated with hepatic levels of POPs (PCBs, OCPs and PBDEs) in 21 day old chicks of European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). Partial Least Squares (PLS) analysis showed that fluctuating asymmetry of wing bone length (FA(WBL)) was affected by PCB-105, -118, -138, -153, and -180 (r(2)x=0.88, r(2)y=0.35, q(2)=0.29). Bivariate correlation confirmed significant positive relationships between FA(WBL) and each of these PCB congeners. In the PLS model no other biological variables were significantly affected by any of the POPs. Levels of POPs were much lower in the shag chicks than in eggs and in hatchlings from the same breeding colony, most likely due to growth dilution of the compounds. We suggest that the effects of the PCBs on FA(WBL) may be due to effects of these compounds on bone growth and bone structure. FA(WBL) may have functional effects on the fitness if it persists after fledging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.10.036DOI Listing
January 2010

Spatial diastereomer patterns of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in a Norwegian fjord.

Sci Total Environ 2009 Nov 1;407(22):5907-13. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Norwegian Institute for Air Research, NO-2027 Kjeller, Norway.

Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is the third most used brominated flame retardant globally, and has been found widely distributed in the environment. The present study reports concentrations and spatial patterns of alpha, beta and gamma-HBCD in a contaminated Norwegian fjord. Intertidal surface sediment and selected species from the marine food web were sampled at five locations in increasing distance from a known point source of HBCD. All sediment and biota samples were analyzed for the three HBCD diastereomers by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). The results demonstrated a HBCD gradient with decreasing concentrations at increasing distance from the point source in sediment and sedentary species, but less so in the species with large feeding ranges. Mean concentrations of Sigma HBCD at the closest/most remote locations relative to the point source were 9000/300 ng g(-1) TOC in sediment and 150/90 ng g(-1) lw in the species with largest feeding range (great black-backed gull). The HBCD diastereomer patterns were similar for each of the matrices (sediment, organisms) independent of distance from the source, indicating no difference in environmental partitioning between the diastereomers. However, the concentration ratio of diastereomers in each matrix ranged from 3:1:10 (alpha:beta:gamma) in the sediments to 55:1 (alpha:gamma) in the highest trophic level species, suggesting diastereomer-specific bioaccumulation in the organisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.08.024DOI Listing
November 2009

Assessment of emerging and traditional halogenated contaminants in Guillemot (Uria aalge) egg from North-Western Europe and the Baltic Sea.

Sci Total Environ 2009 Jun 22;407(13):4174-83. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

Department of Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are readily detected in biological samples at remote sites in the Arctic and sub-Arctic due to long-range transport from source areas. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of POPs, polybrominated contaminants and their metabolites in guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs from Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden to assess spatial trends of these compounds in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas of Europe. Egg samples were extracted, and cleaned for chemical analysis. Concentrations of PCBs, 4,4'-DDE and beta-HCH were an order of magnitude higher in eggs from the Baltic Proper compared to eggs from the North Atlantic. Concentrations of HCB were of the same magnitude at all sites, ranging from 160 to 520 ng/g fat. Concentration of BCPS was 100 times higher in eggs from the Baltic compared to eggs from the North Atlantic and seems therefore to be special regional problem. Concentrations of PBDEs were lower in eggs from the North Atlantic compared to eggs from the Baltic Proper but the difference was not as large as for PCBs and 4,4'-DDE. HBCDD showed the same spatial trend as PCBs, where the concentrations in eggs from the Baltic Proper were an order of magnitude higher than in eggs from the North Atlantic. OH-PCB and MeSO(2)-PCB metabolites of PCBs, showed the same trend as the parent compounds while spatial trends of MeSO(2)-DDE and OH-PBDEs, metabolites of 4,4'-DDE and PBDEs, respectively, differed from the trend of the parent compounds. This may be due to two factors; firstly, the limited ability of birds to metabolise DDT, and secondly, to natural production of OH-PBDE, respectively. Guillemot is suggested as a monitoring species for circumpolar monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.03.026DOI Listing
June 2009

Monitoring of raptors and their contamination levels in Norway.

Ambio 2008 Sep;37(6):420-4

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway.

This article summarizes results from raptor monitoring and contamination studies in Norway of the golden eagle, gyrfalcon, white-tailed sea eagle, osprey, peregrine, and merlin. Golden eagle and gyrfalcon populations have been monitored since 1990 as part of the "Monitoring Programme for Terrestrial Ecosystems" (TOV). No long-term trend in the population size or productivity of golden eagle has been shown in any of the 5 study areas. The reproductive output of gyrfalcon is monitored in 3 areas. It is positively correlated with the populations of its main prey species, the rock ptarmigan and the willow ptarmigan. The white-tailed sea eagle population has been monitored since 1974 by the Norwegian Ornithological Society, and the population is increasing. The levels of pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls are low in the eggs of both the golden eagle and the gyrfalcon, but elevated levels and effects on reproduction have been indicated for a coastal subpopulation of golden eagle. The pollutant levels in white-tailed sea eagle are lower than in the Baltic population of sea eagles, and shell thinning was never severe overall, but individual eggs have contained pollutant concentrations above critical levels. The levels of pollutants in the bird-eating falcons, peregrine, and merlin were higher than in other species. New emerging pollutants, like brominated diphenylethers and perfluorinated organic compounds, could be detected in all species. By incorporating available published and unpublished data, we were able to produce time trends for pollutants and shell thickness over 4 decades.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447(2008)37[423:moratc]2.0.co;2DOI Listing
September 2008

Spatial patterns of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in mosses, herbivores and a carnivore from the Norwegian terrestrial biota.

Sci Total Environ 2008 Oct 15;404(1):162-70. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, NO-2027 Kjeller, Norway.

The widespread occurrence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the environment has attracted considerable attention, leading to concerns about the extent and magnitude of wildlife and human exposure. In this work, we focus on the occurrence and fate of PBDEs in a Norwegian air-plant-herbivore-carnivore system. Specifically, we have analysed for PBDEs in moss, livers from various terrestrial herbivores (moose, grouse, and European roe deer) and, for the first time, livers from the top predator lynx. The samples were collected from different sites and time periods (1990-2004) to identify possible spatial and temporal trends in contaminant levels and patterns. The general finding was that PBDEs were found in all (biotic) samples, although at lower concentrations than previously observed in mammals from the marine environment. The PBDE levels in the herbivores ranged from less than 0.5 ng/g lipid weight to 9.4 ng/g lipid weight as the highest. The median PBDE concentration in lynx was approximately one order of magnitude higher than in the herbivores. In the lynx samples there was a predominance of BDE-153 whereas BDE-47 and 99 dominated in the herbivores. This probably reflects different bioaccumulation properties or metabolic transformation processes of the BDE-congeners, and food choice. Levels of PBDEs in both moss and herbivores showed a general decline towards the northern parts of Norway. No clear temporal trends were observed. The PBDE levels observed in this study were low and are probably of limited toxicological significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.06.005DOI Listing
October 2008

An efficient multivariate approach for estimating preference when individual observations are dependent.

J Anim Ecol 2008 Sep 8;77(5):958-65. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

Department of Mathematical Sciences, Centre for Conservation Biology, Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

1. We discuss aspects of resource selection based on observing a given vector of resource variables for different individuals at discrete time steps. A new technique for estimating preference of habitat characteristics, applicable when there are multiple individual observations, is proposed. 2. We first show how to estimate preference on the population and individual level when only a single site- or resource component is observed. A variance component model based on normal scores in used to estimate mean preference for the population as well as the heterogeneity among individuals defined by the intra-class correlation. 3. Next, a general technique is proposed for time series of observations of a vector with several components, correcting for the effect of correlations between these. The preference of each single component is analyzed under the assumption of arbitrarily complex selection of the other components. This approach is based on the theory for conditional distributions in the multi-normal model. 4. The method is demonstrated using a data set of radio-tagged dispersing juvenile goshawks and their site characteristics, and can be used as a general tool in resource or habitat selection analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01427.xDOI Listing
September 2008

Spatial trends of polyfluorinated compounds in guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs from North-Western Europe.

Chemosphere 2008 Aug 24;72(10):1475-1480. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Department of Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

Polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFCs) are a group of chemicals of growing concern that have been detected in biological and abiotic samples worldwide. This study reports the concentrations of a suite of PFCs: perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctyl sulfonamide (PFOSA) and perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) in guillemot (Uria aalge) eggs, collected in North-Western Europe, from Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden and two locations in Norway. The highest concentrations of PFOS were found in samples from Sweden (mean 400 ng g(-1) wet weight (w.w.)), which were almost five times higher than concentrations found in Norwegian samples (mean 85 ng g(-1)w.w. from both sample sites). The concentrations found in Icelandic and Faroe samples were lowest (mean 16 and 15 ng g(-1)w.w., respectively). Only Swedish samples differed significantly from the other locations. In general, PFCAs show a different spatial trend than PFOS. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was not detected in any sample and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) was only detected in samples from Sweden. The most abundant PFCA was perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUA) with highest concentrations in samples from Sweden (mean 82 ng g(-1)w.w.), samples from the Faroe Islands had the second highest concentration (mean 57 ng g(-1)w.w.) and samples from Iceland and Norway had concentrations ranging between 18 and 30 ng g(-1)w.w. The original hypothesis was based on the idea that PFC concentrations are the highest close to more densely populated and industrialized areas and lower levels in remote areas. However, the geographic pattern is more complicated than predicted and varies among different PFCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.05.011DOI Listing
August 2008

Detailed analysis of polybrominated biphenyl congeners in bird eggs from Norway.

Environ Pollut 2008 Dec 12;156(3):1204-10. Epub 2008 May 12.

University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Chemistry, Garbenstrasse 28, DE-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.

Individual eggs of six species of birds from Norway representing different food chains were analysed for residues of polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs). In all species, the residue pattern was dominated by hexaBBs. The dominating congeners were PBB 153, PBB 154, and PBB 155. Whereas PBB 153 is present in technical hexabromobiphenyl, PBB 154 and PBB 155 are formed by the reductive debromination of decabromobiphenyl. This was evidenced by the detection of several heptaBBs and octaBBs all of which are typical degradation intermediates of PBB 209. Hepta- and octaBBs were more than one order of magnitude less abundant than the hexaBBs. The second most prevailing homologue group was pentaBBs. The most relevant pentabrominated isomers were PBB 99 and PBB 101. Concentrations of the three hexaBBs--PBB 153, PBB 154, and PBB 155--amounted to 1.3-13 ng/g wet weight or 3-23% of the contamination with polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2008.04.003DOI Listing
December 2008

Bottlenecked but long-lived: high genetic diversity retained in white-tailed eagles upon recovery from population decline.

Biol Lett 2006 Jun;2(2):316-9

Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Norbyvägen 18d, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden.

Most of the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) populations in Europe experienced dramatic declines during the twentieth century. However, owing to intense conservation actions and the ban of DDT and other persistent pollutants, populations are currently recovering. We show that despite passing through demographic bottlenecks, white-tailed eagle populations have retained significant levels of genetic diversity. Both genetic and ringing data indicate that migration between populations has not been a major factor for the maintenance of genetic variability. We argue that the long generation time of eagles has acted as an intrinsic buffer against loss of genetic diversity, leading to a shorter effective time of the experienced bottleneck. Notably, conservation actions taken in several small sub-populations have ensured the preservation of a larger proportion of the total genetic diversity than if conservation had focused on the population stronghold in Norway. For conservation programmes targeting other endangered, long-lived species, our results highlight the possibility for local retention of high genetic diversity in isolated remnant populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2006.0453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1618921PMC
June 2006

Natural and man-made organobromine compounds in marine biota from Central Norway.

Environ Int 2007 Jan 27;33(1):17-26. Epub 2006 Jul 27.

University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Chemistry (170), Garbenstr 28, D-70599 Stuttgart, Germany.

Brominated organic pollutants were found in selected samples of mollusk tissue, fish liver, as well as in the eggs and livers of shag from three sites in Central Norway. More than 80 organobromines were identified owing to the defined isotope ratio acquired by GC/ECNI-MS. However, only a few peaks could be assigned to anthropogenic brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). Most of the organobromine compounds detected were unknown or halogenated natural products. The known halogenated natural products MHC-1 and TBA were abundant in all samples and usually between equally abundant, and up to 50 fold more concentrated than the major polybrominated diphenyl ether congener BDE 47. The halogenated natural products BC-2 (2-MeO-BDE 68) and BC-3 (6'-MeO-BDE 47), were on level with BDE 100 which was the second most abundant BDE congener in many samples. The previously identified natural polybrominated hexahydroxanthene derivatives (PBHDs) were detected for the first time in bird eggs. Being major contaminants in bird eggs, PBHDs were only present at low levels in bird liver from nestlings originating from the same clutch. Such differences were detected for several other major contaminants. One unknown tetrabromo compound particularly abundant in mussels from Munkholmen was studied by GC/MS and the molecular ion was detected at m/z 446. The abundance of the most important unknown compounds did not correlate with BDEs and they most likely represent halogenated natural products. This study supports that halogenated natural products have to be treated as serious contaminants of marine coastal waters. Our data suggest that their abundance is highest in habitats along the shoreline. Thorough examination of these compounds in environmental samples is an important task.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2006.06.019DOI Listing
January 2007