Retrospective survey of organochlorines and mercury in arctic seabird eggs

Updated 2015-09-11

In order to address the the question of utility of arctic seabird eggs as an indicator of contaminant temporal trends, it was proposed that: (1) archived arctic seabird egg contents be re-analyzed for organochlorines according to a standardized pooling and analytical protocol in order to confirm whether those residues have been decreasing since the mid-1970s, (2) archived arctic seabird egg contents be analyzed for mercury and selenium to determine whether or not those levels have been increasing or decreasing since the mid-1970s, (3) egg contents and adult livers be analyzed by full scan and ICP to identify any "new" or previously unidentified organochlorines (MS full scan) or metals (ICP) which may have entered the Canadian arctic food chain.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
1997 - 2001
Data collection
1998 - 1999
Data processing
2000 - 2001
Data reporting
2000 - 2001

Contact information

Contact person
Birgit Braune
Environment Canada National Wildlife Research Centre Carleton University (Raven Road) Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0H3
+1 613 998-6694
+1 613 998-0458

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Heavy metals
Other metals/elements
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Residue data for seabird eggs of thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia), black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) and northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis).


Regions studied
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Stations or areas where observations are made

Prince Leopold Island (74°02'N, 90°05'W)

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data are archived in Excel spreadsheet format and will be made available to the AMAP via the designated Canadian experts
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Braune et al. 2001. Contaminant residues in seabird eggs from the Canadian Arctic. I. Temporal trends 1975 - 1998. Environmental Pollution, 114: 39-54.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Samples are archived in the National Wildlife Specimen Bank at NWRC in Ottawa, Ontario, for an indeterminate period of time. Sample homogenates are stored in both glass and polypropylene vials at -40°C.

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.

All samples are handled according to Canadian Wildlife Service protocols. These are available upon request.

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Environment Canada's NWRC laboratories participate in the Canadian Northern Contaminants Program Phase II Interlaboratory QA/QC program and have participated in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's interlaboratory program on mercury in fish.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Canadian Northern Contaminants Program

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