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Relating the ability of mallards to ingest high levels of sediment to potential contaminant exposure in waterfowl

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

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Abstract

When waterfowl feed from the bottom of bodies of water, they sometimes ingest sediments along with their food, and this sediment can be a major source of contaminants. Learning how much sediment waterfowl can consume in their diet and still maintain their health would be helpful in assessing potential threats from contaminants in sediment. In a controlled laboratory study the maximum tolerated percentage of sediment in the diet of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) was measured. When fed a well-balanced commercial avian diet, 50, 60, or 70% sediment in the diet on a dry-weight basis did not cause weight loss over a two-week period. Ducks fed this same commercial diet, but containing 80 or 90% sediment, lost 8.6 and 15.6% of their body weight, respectively, in the first week on those diets. After factoring in the ability of the mallards to sieve out some of the sediment from their diet before swallowing it, we concluded that the mallards could maintain their health even when approximately half of what they swallowed, on a dry-weight basis, was sediment.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Relating the ability of mallards to ingest high levels of sediment to potential contaminant exposure in waterfowl
Series title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume
29
Issue:
7
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Publisher location:
Brussels, Belgium
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
First page:
1621
Last page:
1624
Number of Pages:
5