Gulls can’t fly free of pollution

Urban gulls are exposed to environmental contaminant cocktails. By feeding from marine food webs, they ingest contaminants that are a legacy of previous releases, accumulated and still transferred in food webs. In addition, by living in urban environments, they are exposed to human induced contaminants.

Nature loving gulls can't escape anthropogenic pollutants

The photo shows a lesser black-backed gull. Bird sampling is done with care and skill by qualified personnel, and with permissions and certifications in place.

© Helene Skjeie Thorstensen. All rights reserved.


The project is part of a monitoring program, Environmental contaminants in an urban fjord. The program is carried out by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) for the Norwegian Environment Agency and led by researcher Anders Ruus (NIVA).

The seabird research project was a collaboration with project leader Anders Ruus, Professor Katrine Borgå from the University of Oslo (UiO) and Morten Helberg from Østfold University College (HIOF) as key researchers. Three master students were affiliated with the project at UiO, including myself.

I was lucky to stay on as a research assistant after graduating, working with the project results.


Research group leader, Katrine Borgå’s bio:
Helene’s twitter: @helenetho

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