Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Raptors Survival Can Be Threatened By Ingesting Lead And Cadmium

Date:
July 23, 2008
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Environmental pollutants accumulate in birds of prey, and in some cases, these can cause death. A comparative study of raptors in Galicia and Extremadura undertaken by Spanish researchers has confirmed their exposure to two potentially toxic agents, lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd). The data obtained can be used to detect the toxicological effects in terrestrial ecosystems.

Red-tailed hawk -- a bird of prey. Environmental pollutants can accumulate in birds of prey and in some cases, these can cause death.
Credit: iStockphoto/Michael Hite

Birds of prey accumulate environmental pollutants distributed in the surroundings and, in some cases, these can cause death. A comparative study of raptors in Galicia and Extremadura undertaken by Spanish researchers has confirmed their exposure to two potentially toxic agents, lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd). The data obtained can be used to detect the toxicological effects in terrestrial ecosystems.

Related Articles


Birds of prey that live in extensive geographical areas can accumulate high levels of heavy metals and metalloids in their bodies, as they are top of their food chain. Now researchers from the Universidad de Extremadura and from the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela can reveal that these wild animals can provide extremely useful data to detect and evaluate the toxicological effects of different inorganic elements in terrestrial ecosystems. This information could also be extrapolated to human beings.

“The comparative study between the two autonomous communities, Galicia and Extremadura, enables the difference in exposure and accumulation to different chemical elements in diurnal and nocturnal raptors to be established”, Marcos Pérez López explains to SINC. He is the principal researcher for the study and is part of a wider project that will incorporate data from other countries in the EU.

The research has been published recently in the journal entitled ‘Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety’, and establishes what type of bird tissue hyper-accumulates metallic elements such as cadmium (in this case the kidneys) would be the most suitable in biological monitoring studies. The research also establishes how the geographic area and the diurnal and nocturnal habits of the raptors can influence the elements quantified.

The scientists analysed the samples from different biological tissues, using the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) technique to detect and quantify the metals after the samples had been digested in an acid mixture. The Centros de Recuperación de Vida Salvaje (Wild Life Rescue Centres) in Galicia and Extremadura donated the dead birds in which pollutants were detected.

Raptors are sentinels of pollution

The results show that the levels of Zinc (Zn) and Arsenic (As) in the liver appear to be low in general and would not in any way pose a risk to the species under consideration. On the other hand, “the levels of Lead (Pb) in certain diurnal raptors, and levels of Cadmium (Cd) in other nocturnal raptors could lead to the assumption that a ecotoxicological risk exists which would indicate that promoting the biological monitoring networks is useful” Pérez López states.

In order to prevent this situation and predict future environmental changes, these researchers point out the importance of the ecotoxicological studies, particularly because “the raptors’ biological characteristics make them useful “sentinels”, who act as local monitors suitable for evaluating pollution levels”. The wild birds, studied as environmental pollution bioindicators, give important information about the effects of metals on certain species.

Heavy metals in the environment

Metals are found throughout the world and their presence can be associated with natural events or are the result of anthropogenic activities. The impact of heavy metals on the environment can be a serious threat for the stability of the ecosystem and cause serious effects to the health of animals.

Two of the toxic elements studied in this research, Lead (Pb) and Cadmium (Cd) are released into the environment extensively by industry, road traffic and fossil fuel consumption.

Once metals come into contact with a bird, they tend to accumulate in different organs, such as the kidneys and the liver, and can lead to serious damage, even the death of the animal itself.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Raptors Survival Can Be Threatened By Ingesting Lead And Cadmium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717223732.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2008, July 23). Raptors Survival Can Be Threatened By Ingesting Lead And Cadmium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717223732.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Raptors Survival Can Be Threatened By Ingesting Lead And Cadmium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717223732.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — The NOAA released statistics Thursday showing October was the fifth month this year with record temps and 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) — Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins