Lead, cadmium, selenium and mercury in seabird feathers from the tropical mid‐pacific

Joanna Burger, Elizabeth Anne E. Schreiber, Michael Gochfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We compared the levels of lead, cadmium, selenium, and mercury in adults of several species of seabirds nesting on Manana Island off Oahu, Hawaii, and on Sand and East islands, Johnston Atoll, in 1990 Examined species included sooty tern (Sterna fuscata), brown noddy (Anous stolidus), wedge‐tailed shearwater (Puffinus pacificus), brown booby (Sula leucogaster), and redfooted booby (S sula) For both locations and all metals we found significant interspecific differences There were some consistent patterns within sites selenium levels were two to three times higher in brown noddies compared to the other species, mercury levels in wedge tailed shearwaters were two to five times higher than those in sooty terns or brown noddies, but were similar to levels in boobies Cadmium levels were generally low The significant interspecific differences in metal levels indicate that the levels for some species may not be background levels Hawaiian sooty terns had higher lead levels than those from Johnston, but the noddies had higher selenium and mercury levels and shearwaters had higher lead and mercury levels on Johnston Sooty terns and brown nod dies had higher lead levels in Hawaii and Johnston Atoll than in Australia or the Caribbean

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-822
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Biomonitoring
  • Feathers
  • Metals
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Seabirds


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