Organic contamination in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings at United States and binational great Lakes Areas of Concern

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Contaminant exposure of tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, nesting in 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes basin was assessed from 2010 to 2014 to assist managers and regulators in their assessments of Great Lakes AOCs. Contaminant concentrations in nestlings from AOCs were compared with those in nestlings from nearby non-AOC sites. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations in tree swallow nestling carcasses at 30% and 33% of AOCs, respectively, were below the mean concentration for non-AOCs. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in nestling stomach contents and perfluorinated compound concentrations in nestling plasma at 67% and 64% of AOCs, respectively, were below the mean concentration for non-AOCs. Concentrations of PCBs in nestling carcasses were elevated at some AOCs but modest compared with highly PCB-contaminated sites where reproductive effects have been documented. Concentrations of PAHs in diet were sufficiently elevated at some AOCs to elicit a measurable physiological response. Among AOCs, concentrations of the perfluorinated compound perfluorooctane sulfonate in plasma were the highest on the River Raisin (MI, USA; geometric mean 330 ng/mL) but well below an estimated toxicity reference value (1700 ng/mL). Both PAH and PCB concentrations in nestling stomach contents and PCBs in carcasses were significantly correlated with concentrations in sediment previously reported, thereby reinforcing the utility of tree swallows to assess bioavailability of sediment contamination.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Organic contamination in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings at United States and binational great Lakes Areas of Concern
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.3598
Volume 36
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, National Wildlife Health Center
Description 14 p.
First page 735
Last page 748