Trophodynamics of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the marine food web of Bohai Bay, North China.
The exposure to legacy polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs) and unrestricted 1,2-bis (2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (BTBPE), bis (2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (BEH-TEBP) and 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-benzoate (EH-TBB) was examined in tail feathers of 76 birds belonging to ten predatory species inhabiting Pakistan. In addition, different feather types of six individuals of Black kite (Milvus migrans) were compared for their brominated flame retardant (BFR) levels. Black kite was found to be the most contaminated species with a median (minimum-maximum) tail feather concentration of 2.4 (0.70-7.5) ng g-1 dw for ∑PBDEs, 1.5 (0.5-8.1) ng g-1 dw for ∑HBCDDs and 0.10 (<LOQ-0.1) ng g-1 dw for BTBPE. Among unrestricted BFRs, BTBPE was detected only in Black kite and Little owl (Athene noctua), whereas BEH-TEBP and EH-TBB were not detected in any species. BDE-47 was found to be the most prevalent BFR compound in aquatic species, while BDE-99 and -153 were more abundant in terrestrial species. For HBCDDs, α-isomer was generally recorded as the most prevalent BFR in both terrestrial and aquatic species. The concentrations of BFRs differed significantly (all P < 0.01) among species, trophic guilds and between habitats, the latter for PBDEs only (P < 0.04), whereas differences among taxonomic affiliations and groups with different feeding regimes were not significant (P > 0.05 for both). Similarly, no significant concentration differences were observed among different feather types (all P > 0.05) suggesting their similar exposure. While variables such as species, trophic guild and δ15N values were evaluated as major predictors for BFR accumulation in the studied species, we predict that combined effects of just mentioned factors may govern the intra- and interspecific differences in BFR contamination profiles. We urge for further investigation of BFR exposure and potential toxicological effects in predatory birds from Asia with a more extensive sample size per species and location.