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Failed eggs collected from New Hampshire common loon (Gavia immer) nests in 1979 (N = 15) and 1981 (N = 21) were analyzed for organochlorines and mercury (Hg). In contrast to reports of previous samplings, DDT was not detected in any egg. PCB and DDE residues showed declining trends. Dieldrin was present at low levels in > 50% of the samples. Eggshell thickness was significantly correlated with DDE residues in the eggs of both sampling years; shell thickness is now (1981) comparable to that of museum specimens collected before 1946. Unlike organochlorine residues, Hg residues have shown no decrease in loon eggs. Percentage of loon eggs that contained > 0.5 ppm Hg increased between 1979 and 1981; 2 1981 eggs contained over 1.0 ppm Hg. Lead, zinc, cadmium, chromium and selenium also were analyzed in 1979, and residues were low and variable. Significance of these residue trends and other population factors for loons are discussed, and comparisons with residues of other loon populations in the United States and Canada are made.
Additional Publication Details
Trends in organochlorine and mercury residues in common loon (Gavia immer) eggs from New Hampshire
Transactions of the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference