Breeding status, contaminant burden and helminth parasites of Northern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialis from the Canadian high Arctic
We studied the relationship between contaminant concentrations in livers, endohelminth prevalence and physiological indices of chronic stress (spleen size, heterophil/lymphocyte ratios) in Northern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialis collected during the breeding season in Nunavut, Canada. No blood parasites were found, similar to reports for other petrel species elsewhere. However, 54% of Fulmars had gastrointestinal helminths, principally cestodes (52% prevalence, mean intensity of 11 worms), nematodes (34% prevalence, 3.6 worms) and acanthocephalans (3%, eight worms). Both prevalence and intensity of helminth infections were lower for Arctic Fulmars than for Fulmars and other petrels found in southern parts of the species' range. Spleen size was not significantly related to either contaminant concentration or presence of parasites, suggesting that Fulmar health was generally unaffected by contaminant and parasite levels at the colony. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that Fulmars with higher parasitaemias or contaminant loads were in poorer condition and did not attend the breeding colony.
Mallory, M.L. (Mark L.), McLaughlin, J.D. (J. Daniel), & Forbes, M. (2007). Breeding status, contaminant burden and helminth parasites of Northern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialis from the Canadian high Arctic. Ibis, 149(2), 338–344. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00636.x