Two PBMS researchers, Gloria Pereira and Lee Walker, recently gave platform presentation at the Science for the Environment 2015 conference held in Aarhus, Denmark.
Gloria summarised PBMS long term monitoring of flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers - PBDEs) that escape into and contaminate the wider environment. We have monitored PBDEs in UK gannet and sparrowhawk eggs, sentinels for pollution in marine and terrestrial environments respectively. The monitoring indicates that concentrations in gannet eggs have mirrored environmental emissions, peaking in the 1990s and then falling, whereas concentrations in sparrowhawk eggs also peaked in the 1990s but have remained high since. Concentrations in UK sparrowhawk eggs are among some of the highest reported in Europe. We now need to work out why concentrations in sparrowhawk eggs have not fallen.
Lee outlined how the regulatory authorisation of anticoagulant rodenticides in Britain is undergoing a major overhaul and requires the introduction of a Rodenticide Stewardship programme. An overall aim of stewardship is to reduce the exposure of non-target species to rodenticides. PBMS data on second generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) residues in barn owls have been used to set a baseline against which future changes in exposure can be assessed. More details can be found here. Future monitoring of residues in barn owls will be a key measure to evaluate the success of the stewardship programme.