Changing levels of heavy metal accumulation in birds at Tumacacori National Historic Park along the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed in southern Arizona

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Abstract

National Parks and other protected areas can be influenced by contamination from outside their boundaries. This is particularly true of smaller parks and those in riparian ecosystems, a habitat that in arid environments provides critical habitat for breeding, migratory, and wintering birds. Animals living in contaminated areas are susceptible to adverse health effects as a result of long-term exposure and bioaccumulation of heavy metals. We investigated the distribution and cascading extent of heavy metal accumulation in Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) at Tumacacori National Historic Park (TUMA) along the upper Santa Cruz River watershed in southern Arizona. This study had three goals: (1) quantify the concentrations and distributional patterns of heavy metals in blood and feathers of Song Sparrows at Tumacacori National Historic Park, (2) quantify hematocrit values, body conditions (that is, residual body mass), and immune conditions of Song Sparrows in the park (3) compare our findings with prior studies at the park to assess the extent of heavy metal accumulation in birds at downstream sites after the 2009 wastewater treatment plant upgrade, and (4) quantify concentrations and distributional patterns of heavy metals in blood and feathers of Song Sparrows among six study sites throughout the upper Santa Cruz River watershed. This study design would allow us to more accurately assess song sparrow condition and blood parameters among sites with differing potential sources of contamination exposure, and how each location could have contributed to heavy metal levels of birds in the park.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Changing levels of heavy metal accumulation in birds at Tumacacori National Historic Park along the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed in southern Arizona
Chapter 20
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher George Wright Society
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Subtype Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Engagement, education, and expectations - the future of parks and protected areas: Proceedings of the 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites
First page 123
Last page 128
Conference Title 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N