Influence of in ovo mercury exposure, lake acidity, and other factors on common loon egg and chick quality in Wisconsin

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

A field study was conducted in Wisconsin (USA) to characterize in ovo mercury (Hg) exposure in common loons (Gavia immer). Total Hg mass fractions ranged from 0.17 mg/g to 1.23mg/g wet weight in eggs collected from nests on lakes representing a wide range of pH (5.0–8.1) and were modeled as a function of maternal loon Hg exposure and egg laying order. Blood total Hg mass fractions in a sample of loon chicks ranged from 0.84ug/g to 3.86 ug/g wet weight at hatch. Factors other than mercury exposure that may have persistent consequences on development of chicks from eggs collected on low-pH lakes (i.e., egg selenium, calcium, and fatty acid mass fractions) do not seem to be contributing to reported differences in loon chick quality as a function of lake pH. However, it was observed that adult male loons holding territories on neutral-pH lakes were larger on average than those occupying territories on low-pH lakes. Differences in adult body size of common loons holding territories on neutral-versus low-pH lakes may have genetic implications for differences in lake-source-related quality (i.e., size) in chicks. The tendency for high in ovo Hg exposure and smaller adult male size to co-occur in low-pH lakes complicates the interpretation of the relative contributions of each to resulting chick quality.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of in ovo mercury exposure, lake acidity, and other factors on common loon egg and chick quality in Wisconsin
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.3001
Volume 34
Issue 8
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description 11 p.
First page 1870
Last page 1880
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Iron County, Lincoln County, Price County, Oneida County, Vilas County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N