South polar skua: pollution in an Antarctic avian predator (completed)

Previous studies have shown that South Polar Skua is one of the Antarctic species with the highest levels of biomagnified pollutants, which for some substances are just as high as for Arctic species. This is in spite of Antarctic areas being far more remote and untouched by humans than the Arctic.

South Skua contains high levels of pollutants even if it lives in Antarctica

South Skua contains high levles of pollutants in spite of living in Antarctica.

About the project

Studies report findings of manmade halogenated pollutants even in remote regions like the Antarctica. South Polar Skua is a large seabird and an aggressive top predator in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. During the breeding season, the South Polar Skua colony at Svarthamaren in Dronning Maud Land feed exclusively on eggs and chicks from the resident Antarctic petrells.


  • Quantify levels and patterns of new and old persistent organic pollutants in South Polar Skuas
  • Interpret the data in light of;
  1.  individuals migration and trophic position in the food web (stable isotopes),
  2.  levels and patterns in the same population, and in individuals from a decade earlier
  3.  levels and patterns in Great Skua


Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tromsø,

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo


Tags: Toxicology, Antarctica
Published Oct. 26, 2020 2:32 PM - Last modified Oct. 26, 2020 2:32 PM


Project leader:

Katrine Borgå


  • Katrine Borgå
  • Hilde Karin Midthaug
  • Anuschka Polder (NMBU)
  • Jan Ove Bustnes (NINA)
Detailed list of participants