Mercurial seabirds

Levels of mercury found in seabirds off the coast of British Columbia, have remained relatively stable over the past half a century despite rising levels of the problematic metal in the environment. The finding by a team at McGill University is explained on the basis that surface-dwelling fish numbers have fallen considerably in that time and this has forced the birds to alter their diets and to feed in areas low in sulfate-reducing bacteria and it is this environmental factor which leads to the lower level of mercury in their bodies. "Clearly, what is happening at the base of the food web reverberates up to the top of the food web," says Kyle Elliott.