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Pollution and physiological variability in gentoo penguins at two rookeries with different levels of human visitation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 March 2013

Andrés Barbosa
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, C/José Gutierrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain Departamento Ecología Funcional y Evolutiva, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Eva de Mas
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología Funcional y Evolutiva, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Jesús Benzal
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología Funcional y Evolutiva, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Julia Ines Diaz
Affiliation:
Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Calle 2 584, CCT La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Miguel Motas
Affiliation:
Departamento Toxicología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Murcia, Campus Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Silvia Jerez
Affiliation:
Departamento Toxicología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Murcia, Campus Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Luis Pertierra
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Javier Benayas
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Ana Justel
Affiliation:
Departamento Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Pilar Lauzurica
Affiliation:
Unidad de Activación Inmunológica, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Crtra Pozuelo Km 2, 28229 Majadahonda, Spain
Francisco Javier Garcia-Peña
Affiliation:
Laboratorio Central de Veterinaria, Crtra Algete Km 8, 28110 Algete, Spain
Tania Serrano
Affiliation:
Laboratorio Central de Veterinaria, Crtra Algete Km 8, 28110 Algete, Spain
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Human activity and specifically tourism has been increasing in Antarctica over the last few years. Few studies have examined the indirect effects of human visits on Antarctic penguin rookeries. This work aims to study the differences between a highly visited (Hannah Point) and a rarely visited (Devil's Point, Byers Peninsula) gentoo penguin rookery on Livingston Island. Our results suggest that potential indirect effects of human impact are observed in gentoo penguins at Hannah Point, a colony heavily visited by tourists. Penguins at Hannah Point showed a higher presence of heavy metals such as Pb and Ni and a higher number of erythrocytic nuclear abnormalities than penguins at Devil's Point. Immunological parameters showed different results depending on whether we consider the cellular response - the number of lymphocytes being higher in penguins from Hannah Point - or the humoral response - the level of immunoglobulins being higher in penguins from Devil's Point. Measurements of corticosterone levels in feathers and heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratio in blood showed lower levels in the heavily visited rookery than in the rarely visited rookery. Finally, we did not detect Campylobacter jejuni, a bacteria potentially transmitted by humans in either of the populations and we did not find any difference in the prevalence of Campylobacter lari between the populations.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2013

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Pollution and physiological variability in gentoo penguins at two rookeries with different levels of human visitation
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