Retrospective essay for the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.
As I look back on my paper, “Effects of Low Dietary Levels of Methyl Mercury on Mallard Reproduction,” published in 1974 in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, a thought sticks in my mind. I realize just how much my mercury research was not unlike a leaf in a stream, carried this way and that, sometimes stalled in an eddy, restarted, and carried downstream at a pace and path that was not completely under my control. I was hired in 1969 by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to study the effects of environmental pollutants on the behavior of wildlife. A colleague was conducting a study on the reproductive effects of methylmercury on mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), and he offered to give me some of the ducklings. I conducted a pilot study, testing how readily ducklings approached a tape-recorded maternal call. Sample sizes were small, but the results suggested that ducklings from mercury-treated parents behaved differently than controls. That’s how I got into mercury research—pretty much by chance.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||A downstream voyage with mercury|
|Series title||Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology|
|Contributing office(s)||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Contaminant Biology Program|