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Because eggs of marine birds may be exposed to oil adhering to the feathers of adult birds, a study was undertaken to determine the effects of oil contamination. Two hundred common eider eggs were divided into four experimental sets of 50 each. Two sets were treated with No. 2 fuel oil in amounts of 5 microliters to 20 microliters; a third with 20 microliters of propylene glycol, a neutral blocking agent. The fourth set served as a control. Hatching success was 96 percent for the eggs treated with 20 microliters propylene glycol, 96 percent for the controls and 92 percent for the eggs treated with 5 microliters oil hatched. Only 69 percent of the eggs treated with 20 microliters of oil survived - a significant reduction in hatchability (P 0.05). Mean Hatching weights for all sets were statistically equal. Thus, oil pollution may significantly increase embryonic mortality in marine birds.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of external applications of No. 2 fuel oil on common eider eggs