The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of Great Shearwater (Ardenna gravis) as a bioindicator for biomonitoring programs for metal pollution. Three different metals were analysed in liver, kidney, and feathers, including cadmium, lead, and zinc. Glutathione-S-transferase, malondialdehyde, reduced glutathione, and catalase were assessed as oxidative stress biomarkers. Sex-related trends in metal accumulation also were evaluated. In liver and kidney, the mean concentrations of Zn (146.1 ± 5.14 and 108 ± 2.70 mg/kg, respectively) and Pb (0.19 ± 0.01 and 0.13 ± 0.01 mg/kg, respectively) in A. gravis were generally comparable to values reported in other studies. However, animals presented slightly higher concentrations of Cd (9.67 ± 0.65 in liver and 17.41 ± 0.84 mg/kg in kidney) than those reported in the same species sampled in Southern Atlantic waters. The slightly higher levels of Cd found in this study compared with other studies are probably affected by the location in Northern Atlantic waters (with different diet intake). In feathers, levels of Zn (70.70 ± 1.76 mg/kg) were lower than in other Ardenna shearwaters, whereas higher levels were found for Cd (0.16 ± 0.01 mg/kg) and Pb (0.84 ± 0.06 mg/kg). The lack of differences found between males and females could be influenced by the migration status, because both sexes stay in similar physiological conditions, with no laying eggs. Levels found in the feathers of the present study were related to concentrations in internal tissues below those which cause adverse effects in birds. Thus, feathers would appear as a potential noninvasive tool for metals biomonitoring in seabirds, because it is possible to quantify them. Baseline data of oxidative stress levels have been reported, both in liver and kidney, presenting no correlations with the levels of metals in these tissues. The low internal metal levels and the lack of correlations between oxidative stress metrics suggest a low risk of the environmental concentrations for seabirds.
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