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Embryo malposition as a potential mechanism for mercury-induced hatching failure in bird eggs

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1002/etc.208

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Abstract

We examined the prevalence of embryo malpositions and deformities in relation to total mercury (THg) and selenium (Se) concentrations in American avocet (Recurvirostra americana), black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), and Forster's tern (Sterna forsteri) eggs in San Francisco Bay (CA, USA) during 2005 to 2007. Overall, 11% of embryos were malpositioned in eggs ???18 d of age (n=282) and 2% of embryos were deformed in eggs ???13 d of age (n=470). Considering only those eggs that failed to hatch (n=62), malpositions occurred in 24% of eggs ???18 d of age and deformities occurred in 7% of eggs ???13 d of age. The probability of an embryo being malpositioned increased with egg THg concentrations in Forster's terns, but not in avocets or stilts. The probability of embryo deformity was not related to egg THg concentrations in any species. Using a reduced dataset with both Se and THg concentrations measured in eggs (n=87), we found no interaction between Se and THg on the probability of an embryo being malpositioned or deformed. Results of the present study indicate that embryo malpositions were prevalent in waterbird eggs that failed to hatch and the likelihood of an embryo being malpositioned increased with egg THg concentrations in Forster's terns. We hypothesize that malpositioning of avian embryos may be one reason for mercury-related hatching failure that occurs late in incubation, but further research is needed to elucidate this potential mechanism. ?? 2010 SETAC.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Embryo malposition as a potential mechanism for mercury-induced hatching failure in bird eggs
Series title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI:
10.1002/etc.208
Volume
29
Issue:
8
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
First page:
1788
Last page:
1794
Number of Pages:
7