Trace elements may have important effects on body condition of ducks during spring migration, because individuals are experiencing energetically costly events (e.g., migration, nutrient reserve accumulation, pair formation, feather molt, and ovarian follicle development). We examined relationships among hepatic cadmium, mercury, and selenium concentrations (??g/g dry wt) and nutrient reserves (lipid, protein, and mineral) of female lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) during winter and spring migration at four locations within the Mississippi Flyway (LA, IL, and MN, USA, and MB, Canada). Selenium concentrations (range, 3.73-52.29 (??g/g dry wt) were positively correlated with lipid reserves (F1,73 = 22.69, p < 0.001, type III partial r2 = 0.24), whereas cadmium was negatively correlated with lipid reserves (F1,73 = 6.92, p = 0.010, type III partial r2 = 0.09). The observed relationship between cadmium and lipid reserves may be cause for concern, because lipid reserves of females declined by 55 g (47%), on average, within the range of observed cadmium concentrations (0.23-7.24 ??g/g dry wt), despite the relatively low cadmium concentrations detected. Mean cadmium concentrations were higher in Minnesota (1.23 ??g/g dry wt) and Manitoba (1.11 ??g/g dry wt) than in Louisiana (0.80 ??g/g dry wt) and Illinois (0.69 ??g/g dry wt). However, mean cadmium concentrations predict lipid reserves of females to be only 11 g lower, on average, in Minnesota than in Illinois. Previous research documented that lipid reserves were 100 g lower in Minnesota than in Illinois; consequently, cadmium is unlikely to be the sole cause for decreases in lipid reserves of females during late-spring migration. ?? 2007 SETAC.
Additional publication details
Relationships of cadmium, mercury, and selenium with nutrient reserves of female lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) during winter and spring migration