Volume 45, No. 2

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Lead and cadmium levels in Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus, Flightless Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi, and Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata


1Department of Sciences, Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador (
2Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador
3Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Colegio de Ciencias e Ingenierías - El Politécnico, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador
4Instituto de Simulación Computacional, Colegio de Ciencias e Ingenierías - El Politécnico, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador
5Galápagos National Park Directorate, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador


JIMÉNEZ-UZCÁTEGUI, G., VINUEZA, R.L., URBINA, A.S., EGAS, D.A., GARCÍA, C., COTÍN, J. & SEVILLA, C. 2017. Lead and cadmium levels in Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus, Flightless Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi, and Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata. Marine Ornithology 45: 159 - 163

Received 5 December 2016, accepted 17 May 2017

Date Published: 2017/10/15
Date Online: 2017/07/30
Key words: Heavy metals, threats, marine birds, Galápagos Archipelago


Heavy metals are a threat to wildlife, and they have yet to be analyzed in seabirds from the Galápagos Archipelago. To gauge their prevalence in Galápagos seabird species, we collected and analyzed feather samples from Galápagos Penguins Spheniscus mendiculus, Flightless Cormorants Phalacrocorax harrisi, and Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata in seven different breeding areas in 2011 and 2012 as part of an ongoing mark-recapture study. The results showed that lead is higher in penguins and cormorants; cadmium was found to be below the limit for quantification in all our samples. The heavy metals recorded did not have a clear local source related to human activities, as breeding areas are not located near populated areas. Environmental media (soil, water), marine currents, and atmospheric deposition are possible sources.


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