thumbnail

Metal and sediment ingestion by dabbling ducks

Science of the Total Environment

By:
, , and

Links

Abstract

The chemical analysis of intestinal digesta from hunter-killed carcasses or of wildlife scat is a promising means of estimating the exposure of wildlife to those environmental contaminants that, like lead, are poorly absorbed in the digestive tract. When evaluating contaminants at a site, biologists may find the results of this non-destructive approach more straightforward to interpret in terms of exposure to wildlife than would be analyses of soils, sediments, water, or wildlife tissues. To illustrate the approach, we collected digesta from 47 waterfowl shot by hunters at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, in Delaware, USA. The waterfowl digesta contained an average of approximately 2.4% sediment, estimated from the Al concentrations in the digesta, a marker for sediment. Al concentrations were significantly correlated with concentrations of Cr (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, r=0.57), V (r=0.70), Ni (r=0.31), and Pb (r=0.55), and we concluded that these metals were ingested mainly with sediment. American widgeon (Anas americana) ingested sediment at a rate of about four times that of three other species of dabbling ducks (Anas crecca, A. acuta, A. rubripes) and had several times the exposure to the sediment-associated metals. The digesta of one American black duck contained a high concentration of lead (70 mg/kg, dry wt.), presumably from lead shot, but none of the other samples had notably elevated metal concentrations. We suggest that scat and digesta be analyzed more widely by biologists and resource managers seeking a simple, inexpensive assessment of contaminants in local wildlife habitat.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Metal and sediment ingestion by dabbling ducks
Series title:
Science of the Total Environment
Volume
231
Issue:
2-3
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
235-239
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Science of the Total Environment
First page:
235
Last page:
239
Number of Pages:
5