Effects of mercury, selenium, and organochlorine contaminants on reproduction of Forster's terns and black skimmers nesting in a contaminated Texas bay

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
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Abstract

Mean mercury (0.40 micrograms/g), and geometric mean DDE (1.6 micrograms/g) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) (2.3 micrograms/g) concentrations in Forster`s tern (Sterna forsteri) eggs from Lavaca Bay were higher than those in tern eggs from a reference area in San Antonio Bay, but residues were not correlated with hatching success. Nest success was similar between bays. Selenium levels in Lavaca Bay tern eggs (0.71 micrograms/g) were also comparable to those in eggs from the reference area (0.68 micrograms/g). Clutch size (3.1 to 3.4) of Lavaca Bay black skimmers (Rynchops niger) was no different than that (3.4) at a reference colony near Laguna Vista. Nest success was similar among three Lavaca Bay colonies, but success was lower at one Lavaca Bay colony (40%) than at Laguna Vista (65%). Mean mercury (0.46 micrograms/g) and selenium (0.75 micrograms/g) concentrations in skimmer eggs from Lavaca Bay were higher than those (0.19, 0.33 micrograms/g) from Laguna Vista; however, concentrations of neither contaminant were related to hatching success. DDE concentrations in Lavaca Bay skimmer eggs (3.4 micrograms/g) were similar to those from Laguna Vista (3.2 micrograms/g) and DDE was negatively correlated with hatching success. PCBs were higher in eggs from Lavaca Bay (1.3 micrograms/g) than Laguna Vista (0.8 micrograms/g). Organochlorine and metal contaminants in most eggs were below embryotoxic levels. Eggshell thinning in Forster`s terns (7%) and black skimmers (5%) was below that associated with lowered reproduction. DDE and PCBs were detected in 9 Caspian tern (S. caspia) eggs; maximum concentrations were 4.7 and 5.4 micrograms/g. Caspian tern and least tern (S. albifrons) eggs contained low (less than or equal to 0.9 micrograms/g) concentrations of mercury and selenium.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of mercury, selenium, and organochlorine contaminants on reproduction of Forster's terns and black skimmers nesting in a contaminated Texas bay
Series title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume 20
Issue 1
Year Published 1991
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 32-40
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
First page 32
Last page 40