Acid deposition is one factor that may be responsible for the decline of some waterfowl populations. Growth and physiological condition were monitored in captive-reared black ducks (Anas rubripes) exposed for 10-day trials (day 11-20 of life) on control (pH 6.8) and acidified (pH 5.0) man-made emergent wetlands. Impaired growth (body weight, culmen and tarsus length) and increased mortality (50%) were apparent in broods (hen + 4 ducklings) reared on acidified wetIands. Ducklings exbibiting poor growth had reduced hematocrit, plasma protein and cholesterol levels. This subset of birds had elevated plasma uric acid concentration and creatine kinase activity (perhaps due to enhanced protein and nucleotide catabolism). and elevated pIasma K+ levels. Based upon overt appearance, growth and blood chemistry, ducklings exposed to acidified wetlands were concluded to be in poorer condittion than those exposed on circumneutral pH wetlands.
Additional publication details
Growth and blood chemistry of ducklings reared on acidified wetlands