Wetland water-management may influence mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and ducks at a mercury hotspot

Ecotoxicology
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Mercury is a persistent, biomagnifying contaminant that can cause negative behavioral, immunological, and reproductive effects in wildlife and human populations. We examined the role of wetland water-management on mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and ducks at Kellys Slough National Wildlife Refuge Complex, near Grand Forks, North Dakota USA. We assessed mercury concentrations in blood of wetland-foraging songbirds (80 common yellowthroats [Geothlypis trichas] and 14 Nelson’s sparrows [Ammospiza nelsoni]) and eggs of upland-nesting ducks (28 gadwall [Mareca strepera], 19 blue-winged teal [Spatula discors], and 13 northern shoveler [S. clypeta]) across four wetland water-management classifications. Nelson’s sparrow blood mercury concentrations were elevated (mean: 1.00 µg/g ww; 95% CL: 0.76–1.31) and similar to those reported 6 years previously. Mercury in songbird blood and duck eggs varied among wetland water-management classifications. Songbirds and ducks had 67% and 49% lower mercury concentrations, respectively, when occupying wetlands that were drawn down with water flow compared to individuals occupying isolated-depressional wetlands with no outflow. Additionally, songbirds within impounded and partially drawn-down wetland units with water flow had mercury concentrations that were 26–28% lower, respectively, than individuals within isolated-depressional wetlands with no outflow. Our results confirm that mercury concentrations in songbirds at Kellys Slough continue to be elevated and suggest that water-management could be an important tool for wetland managers to reduce bioaccumulation of mercury in birds.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Wetland water-management may influence mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and ducks at a mercury hotspot
Series title Ecotoxicology
DOI 10.1007/s10646-019-02143-w
Volume 29
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 1229
Last page 1239
Country United States
State North Dakota
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details