Influence of diet of double-crested cormorants on thiamine, lead, and mineral contents of their eggs

Journal of Freshwater Ecology
By: , and 



Throughout much of the Great Lakes basin, reproduction of several fish species is impaired by deficiency of thiamine in their eggs, an effect attributed to consumption of thiaminase-containing forage species, primarily alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus.) Because the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) nesting on islands in Lake Ontario is known to consume considerable amounts of alewife, we examined cormorant food habits and measured thiamine content in eggs collected in 1999 from six separate nests of cormorants from colonies near Lake Ontario and contrasted them with food habits and eggs of cormorants from Oneida Lake where the alewife is rare. Thiamine concentrations in eggs varied between 4.31 and 11.24 nmoleslg with no significant (P>0.18) difference between mean concentrations for Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake (8.08 vs 8.36 nmoles/g) even though alewife comprised approximately 65 vs 0 % of their diets, respectively. Consumption of other thiaminase-containing species was minor in both lakes. Therefore, consumption of alewife and other thiaminase containing fishes by cormorants on Lake Ontario did not appear to significantly impair the levels of thiamine in their eggs. However, we found that the concentration of thiamine in eggs (T; nmoles/g) was inversely related (P<0.02) to lead (Pb) concentration (μg/g) according to the equation: T = −3.142 Pb + 16.25. This relationship may reflect the known ability of thiamine to chelate lead and increase its excretion.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of diet of double-crested cormorants on thiamine, lead, and mineral contents of their eggs
Series title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2009.9664263
Volume 24
Issue 1
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
First page 39
Last page 43
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