Scientia Marina, Vol 63, No S1 (1999)

The Kelp Gull as bioindicator of environmental chemicals in the Magellan region. A comparison with other coastal sites in Chile

Jacqueline Muñoz
1Instituto de Zoología, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

Peter H. Becker
Institut für Vogelforschung "Vogelwarte Helgoland", Germany


During the breeding seasons 1994/5 and 1995/6 we collected Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) eggs from five locations in central to south Chile to study the contamination with mercury and organochlorine compounds. The sites were Algarrobo, Concepción, Maiquillahue Bay, Doña Sebastiana Island (Chalcao channel at Chiloé) and Magdalena Island (Straits of Magellan). We found differences among the sites: Kelp Gull eggs from Chiloé and Algarrobo had the greatest concentrations of mercury (about 170 ng g-1 fresh weight). Residues of DDT were greatest in eggs from Algarrobo and Maiquillahue Bay, those of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) greatest at Algarrobo and Concepción. HCB had highest levels at Concepción. Considering all organochlorines, samples from Algarrobo had the highest concentrations, those from Chiloé the lowest. In consequence we found a geographical pattern from north to south, i.e., from areas with greater to lesser human impact. In comparison with other studies, the levels of environmental chemicals found in Kelp Gulls from Chile are much lower than those known to cause adverse effects on reproductive success.


Environmental chemicals; Kelp Gull; Larus dominicanus; eggs; Chile; mercury; organochlorines; PCBs

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Copyright (c) 1999 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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