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Seabirds as bioindicators of polluents in South Atlantic and Antarctic: an assessment of trace elements levels

Grant number: 14/01495-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2014
Effective date (End): July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Chemical Oceanography
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Rubens Cesar Lopes Figueira
Grantee:Elisa de Souza Petersen
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Seabirds are bioindicators of environmental quality due to their mobility, longevity and because they feed from different organisms in the food web. Due to these characteristics, seabirds can biomagnifying pollutants from the atmospheric and ocean currents and also from preys. Among these pollutants, the trace elements can cause several damages to marine species, including top predatory seabirds, causing deleterious effects, low breeding success, chick growths and physiological effects. The aim of this project is assess the trace elements concentration among seabirds as top predators and bioindicators of environmental quality of South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctic region. In this project, two seabirds species will be evaluated: Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) that breed in Antarctic region and Trindade Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana) from Trindade, a Brazilian oceanic island. Samples of feathers of each species will be collected during the breeding season in the study areas. The material will be analyzed in the Laboratório de Química Inorgânica Marinha (Marine Inorganic Chemical Laboratory) at São Paulo University. The trace elements will be determined according to inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES); to analyze Hg it will be used vapor generation associated to ICP-OES. The analyses results will contribute with relevant information about these two seabirds' populations, since there are scarce data about pollutants bioaccumulation in these species. In addition, these data will be able to evaluate the ecosystem integrity used by these two species. (AU)

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