(Table 2) Concentrations of persistant organic pollutants in the yolk of glaucous gull eggs, Bjørnøya, Svalbard archipelago

It is largely unknown if and how persistent organic pollutants (POPs) affect the transfer of maternal hormones to eggs. This occurs despite an increasing number of studies relating environmental conditions experienced by female birds at the time of egg formation to maternal hormonal effects. Here we report the concentrations of maternal testosterone, 17beta-estradiol and major classes of POPs (organochlorines, brominated flame retardants and metabolically-derived products) in the yolk of unincubated, third-laid eggs of the glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus), a top-predator in the Arctic marine environment. Controlled for seasonal and local variation, positive correlations were found between the concentrations of certain POPs and testosterone. Contaminant-related changes in the relative concentrations of testosterone and 17beta-estradiol were also observed. In addition, yolk steroid concentrations were associated with contaminant profiles describing the proportions of different POPs present in the yolk. Eggs from nests in which two sibling eggs hatched or failed to hatch differed in POP profiles and in the relative concentrations of testosterone and 17beta-estradiol. Although the results of this correlative study need to be interpreted with caution, they suggest that contaminant-related changes in yolk steroids may occur, possibly affecting offspring performance over and above toxic effects brought about by POPs in eggs. Concentrations are given per g wet weight. Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.150150

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