Distribution and ten-year temporal trends (2009–2018) of perfluoroalkyl substances in gull eggs from Spanish breeding colonies

Colomer-Vidal, P., Bertolero, A., Alcaraz, C., Garreta-Lara, E., Santos, F. J., & Lacorte, S. (2022). Distribution and ten-year temporal trends (2009–2018) of perfluoroalkyl substances in gull eggs from Spanish breeding colonies. Environmental Pollution, 293, 118555.

Gull eggs are excellent bioindicators of environmental pollution as reflect the contamination levels of coastal areas, especially of persistent and bioacumulative compounds such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This study aims to evaluate the geographical distribution and 10-year temporal trends (2009–2018) of 17 PFAS in eggs of two gull species (Larus michahellis and Larus audouinii) from 5 main Spanish colonies. ∑PFAS ranged from 13.7 ± 5.9 to 164 ± 17 ng g−1 wet weight and higher concentrations were observed in L. audouinii than in L. michahellis. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was the predominant compound in all samples, followed by perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA) and perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTriDA). Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFNA) were also found in all studied areas but at lower concentrations, while perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was only detected in the Medes Islands. Principal Component Analysis revealed the co-occurrence of the 6 detected PFAS, and differentiated samples from Ebro Delta and Medes Islands, both located in the North-Eastern Mediterranean Sea, with high contribution of all PFAS, from Chafarinas and Atlantic Islands with lower concentration levels and variability. Also, different patterns were observed among colonies, suggesting the fish-based diet plays an important role in PFAS bioaccumulation. In all colonies, except for the Medes Islands, ∑PFAS decreased through the 10-year study period, with PFOS, PFUnA, and PFTriDA showing a significant concentration reduction in a colony-specific manner. This study demonstrates the usefulness and importance of continuous systematic long-term monitoring to determine the geographical distribution and temporal variations of PFAS in marine protected areas using gull eggs as bioindicators of environmental pollution.


Yellow-legged gull eggs (Larus michahellis) as persistent organic pollutants and trace metal bioindicator for two nearby areas with different human impact

The concentration of different persistent organic pollutants (POPs including chlorinated and brominated compounds) and trace metals and metalloids (As, Cd, Cu, Cr, Pb, Hg, Ni, and Zn) was examined in eggs from two colonies of yellow-legged gulls. The two colonies are established in Ría de Vigo, Northwest Spain, with a distance between them of only 10 km, one in Vigo town (industrial and harbour activities) and the other in the Cíes Islands in a Natural Park and Marine Protected Area –MPA- (with no known anthropogenic inputs). Statistically significant differences for the two colonies were observed for Hg, the sum of 7 CBs, the sum of DDTs y and the sum of 9 PBDEs, with values that could be causing some toxic effects in the area of the most anthropogenically influenced colony. The estimated isotopic niche was also calculated, based on δ15N and δ13C, for the two colonies, pointing to a wider diet in the Cíes colony when compared to the diet in the Vigo colony. The study supports the use of the yellow-legged seagull eggs as a bioindicator of pollution capable of differentiating pollution level even in geographically close areas.

Presence and impact of Stockholm Convention POPs in gull eggs from Spanish and Portuguese natural and National Parks

Zapata, P., Ballesteros-Cano, R., Colomer, P., Bertolero, A., Viana, P., Lacorte, S., Santos, F.J., 2018. Presence and impact of Stockholm Convention POPs in gull eggs from Spanish and Portuguese natural and national parks. Science of The Total Environment, 633, pp.704-715.

The aim of the present work was to comparatively assess the occurrence and impact of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in nine natural and national parks from Spain and Portugal using gull eggs (Larus michahellis and L. audouinii) as bioindicators of environmental contamination. Sampling was performed during the breeding season of 2016. Compounds studied include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OC pesticides), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and were analyzed using mass spectrometric based techniques. The results showed a high contamination by PCBs in all colonies, with total levels ranging from 59 to 1278 ng/g wet weight (ww), despite their use is not currently authorized. OC pesticides were also present in all colonies, with a high incidence of 4,4′-DDE in gull eggs at levels up to 218 ± 50 ng/g ww in L. michahellis and 760 ± 412 ng/g ww in L. audouinii from the Ebro Delta natural park. PBDEs and PFOS were also detected at levels up to 91.7 ± 21.3 ng/g ww, which can be attributed to a more recent use. Except for PBDEs, the POP levels in eggs from L. audouinii were higher than in L. michahellis, presumably associated to the fish-based diet of the former. Finally, the effect of POP levels on eggshell parameters (volume, eggshell thickness and desiccation index) were investigated for each colony and gull species in order to evaluate the egg viability and, therefore, the reproduction success.