Elemental composition in feathers of a migratory passerine for differentiation of sex, age, and molting areas

Mihály Óvári, Miklós Laczi, János Török, Victor G. Mihucz, Gyula Záray

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The bulk analysis of single feathers of 263 feathers belonging to 238 individuals of a migratory passerine (collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis, originating from a breeding population in the Pilis-Visegrád Mountains in Hungary) by inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SF-MS) for determination of elements after proper dissolution allowed the quantitative determination of 38 elements. Calcium, Mg, Mn, Fe, and Zn were found to have a quantitative determination frequency larger than 80 % and a concentration greater than 100 μg/g. Among ecotoxicologically relevant elements, Ni, Cd, Hg, and Pb could be determined in more than 55 % of the tail feather samples. The concentration of Hg with a quantification limit of 0.006 μg/g and Pb with that of 0.015 μg/g was higher than 1 and 10 μg/g, respectively, in more than 80 % of the investigated samples, but generally lower than levels that could cause adverse behavioral effects. The principal component analyses of elemental concentration data followed by the application of general linear models revealed that, for male collared flycatchers, the concentration of Sn, Pb, Ni, Sr, Mg, Zn, Ba, and Sc differed significantly in the wing and tail feathers collected from the same individuals. With females, only the Ca and Sc concentration showed a significant difference between wing and tail feathers. Moreover, the concentration of rare earth elements, V, Fe, Sr, Mg, Mn, Zn, Pb, and Ba in tail feathers allowed differentiation between sexes while the concentration of Se, Bi, and Sc between yearling and adult male individuals. At the same time, Sc differentiated age categories in females. Distribution of major elements along the rachis of feathers could be monitored by laser ablation ICP-SF-MS after normalization of the intensities to either 13C or 34S signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2034
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

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Keywords

  • Breeding
  • Elemental distribution
  • Habitat
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
  • Laser ablation
  • Migratory birds
  • Rare earth elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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