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The topobiology of chemical elements in seabird feathers


Howell, NR and Lavers, JL and Uematsu, S and Paterson, D and Howard, DL and Spiers, K and de Jonge, MD and Hanley, T and Garrett, R and Banati, RB, The topobiology of chemical elements in seabird feathers, Scientific Reports, 7 Article 1998. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01878-y


The highly organized morphogenesis of bird feathers holds important phylo- and ontogenetic information on the evolution of birds, organogenesis, tissue regeneration, and the health status of individual animals. Altered topobiological patterns are regularly used as retrospective evidence for disturbed developmental trajectories due to the past exposure to environmental stressors. Using the most advanced high-resolution (570 μm) X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM), we describe in the feathers from three species of Procellariiformes hitherto unknown, depositions of elements (Zn, Ca, Br, Cu, Fe) that are independent of pigmentation or any underlying variation in density or polymer structure. In the case of Zn, the pattern across several species of Procellariiformes, but not other species, consisted of highly regular bands of Zn numbering 3032, which may reflect the estimated number of days of active feather growth or the duration of the moult period. Thus, speculatively, the highly consistent Zn pattern might be the result of a so far unknown diurnal systemic regulation rather than local heterogeneity amongst the follicular stem cells.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine pollution, trace metals, seabird ecology, XFM beamline, synchrotron science
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Lavers, JL (Dr Jennifer Lavers)
ID Code:116737
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-05-18
Last Modified:2018-05-28
Downloads:105 View Download Statistics

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