Does mercury contamination reduce body condition of endangered California clapper rails?

Environmental Pollution
By: , and 



We examined mercury exposure in 133 endangered California clapper rails (Rallus longirostris obsoletus) within tidal marsh habitats of San Francisco Bay, California from 2006 to 2010. Mean total mercury concentrations were 0.56 μg/g ww in blood (range: 0.15–1.43), 9.87 μg/g fw in head feathers (3.37–22.0), 9.04 μg/g fw in breast feathers (3.68–20.2), and 0.57 μg/g fww in abandoned eggs (0.15–2.70). We recaptured 21 clapper rails and most had low within-individual variation in mercury. Differences in mercury concentrations were largely attributed to tidal marsh site, with some evidence for year and quadratic date effects. Mercury concentrations in feathers were correlated with blood, and slopes differed between sexes (R2 = 0.58–0.76). Body condition was negatively related to mercury concentrations. Model averaged estimates indicated a potential decrease in body mass of 20–22 g (5–7%) over the observed range of mercury concentrations. Our results indicate the potential for detrimental effects of mercury contamination on endangered California clapper rails in tidal marsh habitats.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Does mercury contamination reduce body condition of endangered California clapper rails?
Series title Environmental Pollution
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.12.004
Volume 162
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, San Francisco Bay-Delta, Western Ecological Research Center
Description 10 p.
First page 439
Last page 448
Time Range Start 2006-01-01
Time Range End 2010-12-31
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Francisco Bay
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