Annex 4. Description and interpretation of results from national trend studies: US-Alaska – Seabirds

Published: February 13, 2017


Stacy S. Schuur, Paul R. Becker, Colleen E. Bryan Sallee, Rebecca S. Pugh, David G. Roseneau


The Seabird Tissue Archival and Monitoring Project (STAMP) has banked over 1900 seabird eggs collected from Alaska since 1999. Common and thick-billed murres (Uria aalge and U. lomvia) make ideal biomonitors as abundant, circumpolar, essentially non-migrating, piscivores that lay only one egg (Vander Pol and Becker, 2007). Banking of glaucous and glaucous-winged gull (Larus hyperboreus and L. glaucescens) egg clutches began in 2004 at the request of subsistence harvesters and to complement other circumpolar studies. STAMP began as a joint project of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS-AMNR), the US Geological Survey Biological Resources Division (USGS-BRD), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to monitor long-term trends in environmental quality by (1) collecting seabird tissues (mainly eggs) at Alaskan seabird colonies without inadvertently contaminating them, (2) processing and banking the samples under conditions that ensure chemical stability during long-term (decadal) storage, and (3) analyzing subsamples of the stored material for anthropogenic contaminants. Over the past decade, 475 eggs have been analyzed for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and mercury (Hg) at NIST to help advance the third goal of STAMP. Contaminant patterns and concentration levels have differed between regions and species, and some of the temporal trends appear to correlate with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. STAMP plans to continue using murre eggs to monitor contaminant patterns and trends in Alaskan marine environments.
Citation: AMAP Assessment 2015: Temporal Trends in Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Arctic
Pub Type: Others

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Alaska, BDEs, eggs, gulls, Mercury, murres, Pesticides, PCBs, POPs
Created February 13, 2017, Updated December 20, 2018