Contamination of Arctic marine environments continues to be a concern for wildlife managers. Because the Arctic is a sink for the long-range transport of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), many studies have detected high concentrations of POPs in various Arctic birds. In this study from high Arctic Canada, we show that male Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea), which migrate from the Antarctic to the Arctic annually to breed, decline in concentrations of many hepatic POPs through the breeding season. This suggests that local Arctic food webs are less contaminated than regions where terns fed during or migration, despite that the terns appear to feed at a higher trophic level near their colony.

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Science of the Total Environment
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Mallory, M.L. (Mark L.), Anderson, C.M. (Christine M.), Braune, B.M, Pratte, I. (Isabeau), & Provencher, J.F. (Jennifer F.). (2019). Arctic cleansing diet: Sex-specific variation in the rapid elimination of contaminants by the world's champion migrant, the Arctic tern. Science of the Total Environment, 689, 716–724. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.505