Albatross prove: a hundred years of mercury in the biosphere has doubled

Albatross prove: a hundred years of mercury in the biosphere has doubled

Analysis of the black-footed albatross feathers showed a doubling of their content of organic mercury. Since these birds are the culmination of the food pyramid, the fact that the accumulation of mercury may be relevant to other "sovereign" predators, including to humans.
Black-footed albatross (photo Larry Meade).

Probably the most exciting research in the field of environmental security — surveillance wandering various unpleasant substances on ecosystems. How the toxin, which resulted in the sea near Australia, appeared a year later in a nearby supermarket? Talk of the complexity of such studies have become common place. Not only that we have to recycle in every sense of the mountain of materials, but because the cycling of matter in real time, so environmentalists need to consider not only the conventional present, but also sometimes very distant past.
So scientists at Harvard University (USA), analyzing the dynamics of mercury compounds in the biosphere, using feathers Goonies (Phoebastria nigripes), who were caught in the period from 1880 to 2002. Researchers were interested in breast feathers of birds, which are a kind of terminus toxic methylmercury — an organic form of mercury, which it travels beings.

It is believed that the burning of fossil fuel leads to the release of mercury compounds into the biosphere, where they get to eat many animals and humans. The bulk of research focuses on the accumulation of mercury in fish. But this fish in turn feed on sea birds — and thus, in the bird's body reaches a maximum concentration of mercury.

Birds (or rather, a stuffed albatross), whose feathers were analyzed were caught throughout the North Pacific, that is, the data has global and not specific sign of a narrow habitat. It turned out that for 120 years, the content of mercury compounds in birds has increased by about half. By the end of the content of the toxin has reached a value that is sublethal for the other birds — common loon. True, their own sensitivity to mercury albatross is still unknown.

The study shows for the first time what science can only guess: the fact the accumulation of mercury in living organisms. As the sea-birds, like people, take in the food pyramid the top, results can touch us directly, such as finite battery toxins. Article on the accumulation of mercury published in PNAS.

However, researchers who did not participate in this work, the authors warn against "excessive conclusions": mercury in the biosphere over the past century may have increased, but the albatross does not prove that this increase was certainly man-made: a person is not necessarily to blame for all the troubles planet.

As we can see, taking care of our little in recent years, more space loses conceding his cruelty and indifference. Never forget about nature and the environment, and especially the creatures inhabiting it. If you have pets, you nezdrovitsya, uses the services of veterinary clinics, do not try to create one all on their own, because you can hurt and make the situation worse. Treat your pets as you want it to be treated.

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