Deakin University

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Demographic, endocrine and behavioral responses to mirex in the South polar skua

journal contribution
posted on 2018-08-01, 00:00 authored by A Goutte, Alizee MeillereAlizee Meillere, C Barbraud, H Budzinski, P Labadie, L Peluhet, H Weimerskirch, K Delord, O Chastel
© 2018 Population consequences of chronic exposure to multiple pollutants at low environmental doses remain speculative, because of the lack of appropriate long-term monitoring surveys. This study integrates proximate and ultimate aspects of persistent organic pollutants (POP) burden in free-living vertebrates, by coupling hormonal and behavioral endpoints, life-history traits, and population dynamics. Blood samples (N = 70) were collected in South polar skuas during two breeding periods, in 2003 and 2005, and individuals were annually monitored until 2011. Multi-state mark recapture models were used to test the effects of POP levels on demographic traits. Survival rate and long-term breeding probability were not related to individual POP levels, whereas long-term breeding success significantly decreased with increasing blood levels of mirex, an organochlorine insecticide. At the proximate level, corticosterone (stress hormone) and prolactin (parental care hormone) levels were not linked to individual POP burden. Nest defense in 2005 was significantly less intensive in chick-rearing skuas bearing higher mirex levels, suggesting reproductive behavioral impairment. Matrix population models were then built to project the rate of population decline according to increasing mirex burden. Although mirex levels were 2.8 times higher in 2003 than in 2005, the population-level effect of mirex was only detected in 2005, the year of higher corticosterone levels. The combination of endocrine traits with demographic analysis thereby enables to provide new support of synergistic interactions between pollutants and stress levels on long-term breeding outputs and population dynamics.



Science of the total environment




317 - 325




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Elsevier B.V.