Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) eggs were collected during 1995 and 1996 at seven sites along the Fraser and Columbia River systems of British Columbia, Canada, and Washington and Oregon, USA. Fifty-four eggs were placed into a laboratory incubator. Thirty-eight of the hatched chicks were sacrificed within 24 h. Hatching success did not differ among sites and therefore between treatment and reference areas. Residual yolk sacs of eggs collected downstream of the large bleached-kraft pulp mill at Castlegar contained greater mean concentrations of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, 2,930 ng/kg lipid) compared with reference sites such as the Nechako River, an upper tributary of the Fraser system (33.7 ng/kg). Total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in yolk sacs were also higher at Castlegar and in samples from the Columbia River downstream of Portland, Oregon, compared with those from the Nechako River. Concentrations of measured chemicals, including TCDD toxic equivalents (TEQs), total PCBs, p,pa??-dichlorodiphenylethylene (p,pa??-DDE), and other organochlorines were not different in eggs that failed to hatch compared with calculated whole-egg values for hatched eggs. There were significant biochemical responses; a hepatic cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) cross-reactive protein was detected in all samples tested and correlated positively with ethoxyresorufin o-deethylase (EROD) activity and yolk sac concentrations of TEQs and total PCBs. Tissue concentrations of vitamin A compounds varied among sites and correlated positively with yolk sac concentrations of TEQs and PCBs. Morphological, histological, and other physiological parameters, including chick growth, edema, deformities, and hepatic and renal porphyrin concentrations, neither varied among sites nor showed concentration-related effects.
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Assessment of biological effects of chlorinated hydrocarbons in osprey chicks