Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are increasingly exploited for crucial new technologies, and their massive use in the past decades has significantly increased their environmental concentrations. Although their effects have been extensively studied in vitro and in vivo in model species, little is known of their accumulation and potential toxic effects in wildlife, including waterbirds. In the present work, we measured the concentrations of REEs in feathers of young Sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) about 16–20 days old to assess whether the accumulation of these elements may be a concern in Venice's Lagoon, one of the most important wetlands of the Mediterranean area for breeding and migrating birds. The REE concentrations detected in the Sandwich tern were the highest among those reported in the literature for bird's feathers (940.9 ± 223.0 ng g−1), although in the study area industrial activities related to REEs mining, processing and disposal are absent. In particular, Lanthanum (La) was more abundant in the feathers than other REEs and accounted for 73–97% of total REEs detected. Analysis of bird's food indicated that diet is a relevant route of exposure to REEs for young terns; however, concentration in fishes are relevantly higher than in the feathers for all REEs other than La. The study evidenced the need to collect more information concerning the occurrence of REEs both in the abiotic matrices (i.e. water and sediments) and in living organisms of different trophic levels to improve the general knowledge concerning the fate of REEs in the aquatic ecosystems.

Occurrence of rare earth elements in fledgelings of Thalasseus sandvicensis

Picone M.;Distefano G. G.;Corami F.;Franzoi P.;Redolfi Bristol S.;Panzarin L.;Volpi Ghirardini A.
2022

Abstract

Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are increasingly exploited for crucial new technologies, and their massive use in the past decades has significantly increased their environmental concentrations. Although their effects have been extensively studied in vitro and in vivo in model species, little is known of their accumulation and potential toxic effects in wildlife, including waterbirds. In the present work, we measured the concentrations of REEs in feathers of young Sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) about 16–20 days old to assess whether the accumulation of these elements may be a concern in Venice's Lagoon, one of the most important wetlands of the Mediterranean area for breeding and migrating birds. The REE concentrations detected in the Sandwich tern were the highest among those reported in the literature for bird's feathers (940.9 ± 223.0 ng g−1), although in the study area industrial activities related to REEs mining, processing and disposal are absent. In particular, Lanthanum (La) was more abundant in the feathers than other REEs and accounted for 73–97% of total REEs detected. Analysis of bird's food indicated that diet is a relevant route of exposure to REEs for young terns; however, concentration in fishes are relevantly higher than in the feathers for all REEs other than La. The study evidenced the need to collect more information concerning the occurrence of REEs both in the abiotic matrices (i.e. water and sediments) and in living organisms of different trophic levels to improve the general knowledge concerning the fate of REEs in the aquatic ecosystems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3746281
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