Biomonitoring of heavy metals in feathers of resident aquatic birds in Lake Chapala, Mexico

Deisy González, Dioselina Álvarez Bernal, Miguel Mora, Héctor René Buelna-Osben, Jorge Ricardo Ruelas-Insunza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2018, Centro de Ciencias de la Atmosfera, UNAM. All rights reserved. Lake Chapala is considered important because of the economic, recreational, and ecological services that it offers. The main water source of the lake is the Lerma river, which receives industrial waste discharges from the states of Mexico, Queretaro, and Guanajuato, as well as municipal and agricultural waste discharges from the states of Michoacan and Jalisco. Contaminants present in such waste discharges can accumulate through the food web and affect other species in the Chapala ecosystem. We estimated heavy metal pollution in the lake by measuring concentrations of Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Pb, Sr and Ti in water and sediments, and in feathers from three resident aquatic birds (Ardea alba, Egretta thula, Nycticorax nycticorax). The analysis of heavy metals in feathers was performed using inductively-coupled mass spectrometry. A. alba had significantly greater concentrations of Pb (43.65 µg/g) and Cr (52.47 µg/g) in feathers (rachis) than E. thula and N. nycticorax (p ≤ 0.05). The biota-sediment bioacccumulation factors suggest accumulation of Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg and Pb in birds from Lake Chapala. Feathers from resident aquatic bird species in Lake Chapala can be used as a non-lethal procedure useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalRevista Internacional de Contaminacion Ambiental
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

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