Organochlorine and heavy metal residues were determined in 103 shorebirds of seven species collected at Corpus Christi, Texas, during the winter of 1976-77 to evaluate their potential effects on population survival, DDE and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were detected in most samples. Chlordane isomers, dieldrin, toxaphene, and heptachlor epoxide also occurred, but less frequently. In general, organochlorine residues were low in skinned carcasses. Geometric means on a wet weight basis ranged from 0.25 ppm to 4.76 ppm for DDE and from 0.67 ppm to 6.64 ppm for PCBs; residues of the other compounds averaged less than 1 ppm in all instances. Mercury, lead, arsenic and vanadium occurred in all shorebird livers, and selenium and cadmium were detected in all kidneys. Residues of these metals, except selenium, were low in most tissue samples. Selenium averages varied from 1.77 ppm to 5.62 ppm (wet weight) in kidneys; residues in this range may be sufficient to inhibit reproduction or to induce other forms of toxicity, especially at the higher levels.
Additional publication details
Significance of organochlorine and heavy metal residues in wintering shorebirds at Corpus Christi, Texas, 1976-77