Velando, A., Munilla, I., López-Alonso, M., Freire, J. & Pérez, C. EROD activity and stable isotopes in seabirds to disentangle marine food web contamination after the Prestige oil spill. Environmental Pollution 158, 1275–1280 (2010).
In this study, we measured via surgical sampling hepatic EROD activity in yellow-legged gulls from oiled and unoiled colonies, 17 months after the Prestige oil spill. We also analyzed stable isotope composition in feathers of the biopsied gulls, in an attempt to monitor oil incorporation into marine food web. We found that yellow-legged gulls in oiled colonies were being exposed to remnant oil as shown by hepatic EROD activity levels. EROD activity was related to feeding habits of individual gulls with apparent consequences on delayed lethality. Capture–recapture analysis of biopsied gulls suggests that the surgery technique did not affect gull survival, giving support to this technique as a monitoring tool for oil exposure assessment. Our study highlights the combination of different veterinary, toxicological and ecological methodologies as a useful approach for the monitoring of exposure to remnant oil after a large oil spill.