Dataset for: Organochlorines, perfluoroalkyl substances, mercury and egg incubation temperature in an Arctic seabird: insight from data loggers

In birds, incubation-related behaviors and brood patch formation are influenced by hormonal regulation like prolactin secretion. Brood patch provides efficient heat transfer between the incubating parent and the developing embryo in the egg. Importantly, several environmental contaminants are already known to have adverse effects on avian reproduction. However, relatively little is known about the effect of contaminants on incubation temperature (Tinc) for wild birds. By using temperature thermistors placed into artificial eggs, we investigated whether the most contaminated parent birds are less able to provide appropriate egg warming and thus less committed in incubating their clutch. Specifically, we investigated the relationships between three groups of contaminants (organochlorines (OCs), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and mercury (Hg)) with Tinc and also with prolactin concentrations and brood patch size in incubating Arctic black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). Our results reveal that among the considered OCs, only blood levels of oxychlordane, the main metabolite of “chlordane”, a banned pesticide, were negatively related to the minimum incubation temperature in male kittiwakes. PFAS and Hg levels were unrelated to Tinc in kittiwakes. Moreover, our study suggests a possible underlying mechanism since we reported a significant and negative association between blood oxychlordane concentrations and the size of the brood patch in males. Finally, this reduced Tinc in the most oxychlordane-contaminated kittiwakes was associated with a lower egg hatching probability.