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Contaminant concentrations and biomarker response in great blue heron eggs from 10 colonies on the upper Mississippi River, USA

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

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Abstract

In 1993, great blue heron (Ardea herodias; GBH) eggs were collected from 10 colonies on the upper Mississippi River (UMR). They were then artificially incubated until pipping and analyzed for mercury, selenium, and organochlorines. Livers of embryos were analyzed for hepatic microsomal ethoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase (EROD) and four measures of oxidative stress. Brains were measured for asymmetry and blood was measured for the coefficient of variation of DNA (DNA VC). Organochlorine concentrations were generally low (geometric mean DDE = 1.3 ug/g wet weight; polychlorinated biphenyl [PCB] = 3.0 ug/g; 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro- -dioxin [TCDD] = 11.5 pg/g). Eggshell thickness was negatively correlated with DDE concentrations. Mercury (geometric mean = 0.8 ug/g dry weight) and selenium (3.1 ug/g dry weight) concentrations in GBH eggs were within background levels. EROD activity was not correlated with total PCBs, TCDD or toxic equivalents (TEQs) based on the relative contribution of individual PCB congeners, dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) to calculated TEQs. Three of the four measures of oxidative stress were correlated with mercury concentrations. Twenty of 43 (47%) embryo brains were asymmetrical and the embryos with asymmetrical brains had higher EROD concentrations in the liver and higher DNA CV in the blood than embryos with symmetrical brains.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Contaminant concentrations and biomarker response in great blue heron eggs from 10 colonies on the upper Mississippi River, USA
Series title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume
16
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
260-271
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
First page:
260
Last page:
271
Number of Pages:
12