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SEABIRD TISSUE ARCHIVAL AND MONITORING PROJECT: Egg Collections and Analytical Results for 2006-2009



Stacy S. Schuur, Paul R. Becker, Sylvain Berail, Russell D. Day, Olivier F. Donard, Keith A. Hobson, Amanda J. Moors, Rebecca S. Pugh, Lauren B. Rust, David G. Roseneau


Since 1999, the Seabird Tissue Archival and Monitoring Project (STAMP) has collected, banked, and analyzed seabird eggs using established protocols to monitor chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants, and mercury in Alaska’s marine environments. In 2006 and 2008-2009, 594 clutches of murre and gull eggs were obtained and banked at the Marine Environmental Specimen Bank, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), using established protocols. During 2008-2010, 118 of the clutches from 13 Norton Sound – Bering Strait seabird colonies and 6 other nesting locations in the Bering and Chukchi seas and Gulf of Alaska were analyzed by NIST at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, South Carolina for mercury and persistent organic pollutants. Mercury isotope analyses were run at the Equipe de Chimie Analytique BioInorganique et Environnement facility in Pau, France, and the Stable Isotope Hydrology and Ecology Research Laboratory in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, ran stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses. Most bromated flame retardants were below detection limits. Polychlorinated biphenyl levels in the Norton Sound murre eggs were similar to levels found at other colonies in the region, but total mercury and some chlorinated pesticides were higher, compared to these locations. Most contaminant levels in Norton Sound gull eggs were also higher, but some chlorinated pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls were lower, compared to the other colonies. Mercury and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope gradients indicated that Norton Sound has a unique mercury regime that is related to terrestrial sources of this metal. Mass independent fractionation is lower at northern latitudes, where sea-ice cover inhibits photoreduction of mercury, but it was also low in Norton Sound and the northern Bering Sea, indicating that ice was not the only factor influencing mercury fractionation patterns in these regions.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7872
Report Number


seabird, eggs, murre, gull, PCBs, BDEs, organochlorine pesticides, Hg, stable isotopes, specimen bank


Schuur, S. , Becker, P. , Berail, S. , Day, R. , Donard, O. , Hobson, K. , Moors, A. , Pugh, R. , Rust, L. and Roseneau, D. (2012), SEABIRD TISSUE ARCHIVAL AND MONITORING PROJECT: Egg Collections and Analytical Results for 2006-2009, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created August 2, 2012, Updated January 27, 2020