Bioaccumulation of selenium in birds at Kesterson Reservoir, California

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
By: , and 



This study was conducted to determine selenium (Se) concentrations in tissues of birds collected during the 1983-1985 nesting seasons at Kesterson Reservoir (an area receiving high-Se irrigation drainage water), compare them with birds from reference sites within California's Central Valley, and relate them to food-chain Se concentrations at the study sites. Within years, Se in livers of adult birds collected early and late in the nesting season changed significantly at both Kesterson and the primary reference site (Volta Wildlife Area). These changes were related to the length of time birds had been present at the study sites and the associated accumulation (at Kesterson) or depuration (at Volta) of Se. All species showed significant location differences, which were greatest in species that occurred at Kesterson throughout the year or fed more consistently within the reservoir. There were few species differences in Se for birds at the reference sites (where food-chain Se levels were 'normal' [ < 2?g/g, dry wt]). At Kesterson (where bird foods generally contained >50 ?/g Se/g), species patterns varied by year, probably because of varying periods of residence and other factors. Se concentrations in kidneys and livers of American coots (Fulica americana) were significantly correlated (r = 0.9845); Se concentrations in breast muscles and livers of juvenile ducks (Anas spp.) also were correlated (r = 0.8280). Body weights of adult coots were negatively correlated with liver Se concentration. Late-season resident breeding birds or pre-fledging juvenile birds reared at a site usually provided the best indication of site-specific Se bioaccumulation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Bioaccumulation of selenium in birds at Kesterson Reservoir, California
Series title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume 19
Issue 4
Year Published 1990
Language English
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 495-507
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
First page 495
Last page 507
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