Dioxins and furans linked to reproductive impairment in wood ducks

Journal of Wildlife Management
By:  and 



A wetland in central Arkansas was contaminated with polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans and because the area was a major waterfowl habitat, we studied the effects of the contamination on nesting wood ducks (Aix sponsa) during 1988-90. Residues in wood duck eggs, based on toxicity equivalency factors (TEFs) for combined compounds, ranged from 0.2 to 611 parts per trillion (ppt) wet mass (70% were the toxic isomer 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (tetraCDD)) and were 50 times higher in eggs from near the point source than from an uncontaminated reference site 111 km away. Nest success, hatching success, and duckling production were suppressed (P lt 0.05) at nesting sites 9 and 17 km downstream, as was hatching success 58 km downstream. Egg TEFs were inversely correlated (P lt 0.001) with productivity in corresponding nests. In addition, teratogenic effects occurred in ducklings at the more contaminated nesting site nearest the point source. The threshold range of toxicity (based on TEFs) where reduced productivity was evident in wood ducks was gt 20-50 ppt. Wood ducks were sensitive to dioxin and furan contamination, and we recommend it as an indicator species for monitoring biological impacts from these contaminants.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Dioxins and furans linked to reproductive impairment in wood ducks
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 58
Issue 1
Year Published 1994
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 100-106
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 100
Last page 106
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