Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Abstract Failed eggs were collected from the nests of a river passerine, the dipper Cinclus cinclus, in Wales and southwestern Ireland during 1988–1992 and analyzed for up to 24 pollutants including 15 individual PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) congeners. Most pollutants showed significant changes from year to year in their incidence of occurrence and concentration, in some cases by over an order of magnitude. Individual PCBs varied to the extent that eggs were dominated by different congeners in each of three different years. Most trends were not uniform, exceptions being significant and progressive increases in the incidence and concentrations of HCB (Hexachlorobenzene) and gamma HCH (lindane). Such marked yearly changes reflect the generally small pollutant concentrations recorded, in which slight fluctuations in absolute terms were proportionately large relative to background levels. Despite inter- and intra-annual change, dipper eggs showed differences in concentrations of DDE (a metabolite of DDT) and mercury between Wales and Ireland. Eggs also revealed a locality with large PCB concentrations, subsequently related to a point source. We conclude that dipper eggs are useful in indicating spatial patterns in organochlorine pesticides and PCBs, but will only detect temporal trends if they are pronounced and sustained.
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