John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) concentrations in a terrestrial raptor: Relationships to environmental conditions and individual traits

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Accumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in wildlife may be influenced by the physical and biotic environment, and concentrations vary greatly among areas, seasons and individuals. Different hypotheses about sources of variation in perfluoroalkyl substance (PFASs) concentrations were examined in eggs (n = 107) of tawny owls (Strix aluco) collected over a 24 year period (1986‐2009) in Norway. Predictor variables included the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), temperature, snow, food availability (voles abundance) and individual traits such as age, body condition and clutch size. Concentrations of both perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) varied several fold in the population both inter‐ and intraannually. Moreover, individuals laid eggs with several times higher or lower PFAS concentrations within few years (1‐5 years). After controlling for temporal trends; i.e. declining PFOS and increasing PFCA concentrations, both PFOS and PFCAs were positively associated to the winter NAO in the previous year (NAOy‐1), suggesting that atmospheric transport may be affecting the input of PFASs to the local ecosystem. PFOS was negatively related to temperature, but the pattern was complex as there was an interaction between temperature and the feeding conditions; i.e. PFOS accumulation was highest in years with high vole abundance and lowmedium temperatures. For PFCAs, there was an interaction between NAOy‐1 and feeding conditions, suggesting that strong air transport towards Norway and high consumption of voles led to a moderate increase in PFCA accumulation. The individual traits, however, had very little impact on the concentrations of PFASs in the eggs. This study thus suggests that annual variation in environmental conditions influences the concentrations of PFASs in a terrestrial raptor such as the tawny owl. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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