Persistent organochlorine contaminants in eggs of northern goshawk and Eurasian buzzard from northeastern Spain: Temporal trends related to changes in the diet

Santi Mañosa, Rafael Mateo, Cristina Freixa, Raimon Guitart

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46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Persistent organochlorine compounds (pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls) were determined in 24 northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and eight Eurasian buzzard (Buteo buteo) samples of eggs collected between 1988 and 1999 in La Segarra (northeast Spain), in order to evaluate the changes in exposure and detrimental effects during this period. In the study area, both species exhibited similar levels of contamination, which may be related to their similar diet, mainly based on European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in terms of biomass. The buzzard showed contamination levels similar to those found in other Spanish areas, but the levels found in the goshawk were much lower. The shell index in goshawk eggs was inversely correlated to concentration of p,p′-DDE. In late eighties, the concentrations of p,p′-DDE and heptachlor-epoxide in goshawk eggs were positively correlated to the biomass percentage of passeriforms in the diet. In goshawk samples, a decline in HCB concentration in the 1990s as compared to the 1980s was detected. Surprisingly, p,p′-DDE concentrations did not decline, as could be expected from the ban on DDT use. On the contrary, the highest p,p′-DDE concentrations were detected in some samples from the nineties, which also showed the lowest shell indices. This may be related to a severe reduction of rabbit population after 1989 that produced an increase in the consumption of passeriformes, which are known to accumulate higher levels of organochlorine compounds. Our study suggests that monitoring programs aiming to detect temporal trends in chemical contamination should take into account changes in diet composition before any conclusion can be drawn. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-359
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

Keywords

  • Accipiter gentilis
  • Accipitridae
  • Aves
  • Buteo buteo
  • Monitoring
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls

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