Climate and contamination of the western arctic: monitoring change with the Black Guillemot, an apex marine predator

Updated 2001-06-29

Examine temporal and spatial variation in trace metal concentrations in the western Arctic through the analysis of Black Guillemot feathers. Temporal trends being examined using study skins collected as early as 1897. Spatial variation examined in conjunction with carbon isotope signatures in feathers and by sampling both winter and summer plumages. Regional climate change monitored through examination of annual variation in breeding chronology and success in relation to snow and ice melt.

This is not a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2000 - 2002
Data collection
2000 - 2001
Data processing
2000 - 2002
Data reporting
2001 - 2002

Contact information

Contact person
George J. Divoky
Institute of Arctic Biology University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 USA
+1 206 365 6009
+1 508 445 8140
Other project contacts
Alan Springer Sathy Naidu Institute of Marine Science University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 99775

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Climate change effects
Heavy metals
Media sampled/studied/modelled


Regions studied
Marine TDC
Marine TDC
Marine TDC
Marine TDC
Other areas
Beaufort, Chukchi and northern Bering seas
Stations or areas where observations are made

Specimens collected primarily within 35 km of Point Barrow, Alaska although historical specimens from the Beaufort, Chukchi and northern Bering seas also are being examined.

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
Data centres
Marine TDC
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Feathers being archived at University of Alaska Museum

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Feathers are being obtained from historical museum specimens and from living birds in the field. Analysis of methyl mercury, cadmium and lead being done by Frontier Geosciences in Seattle, Washington.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
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