Mercury and selenium contamination in waterbird eggs and risk to avian reproduction at Great Salt Lake, Utah

Open-File Report 2015-1020
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
By: , and 

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Abstract

The wetlands of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem are recognized regionally, nationally, and hemispherically for their importance as breeding, wintering, and migratory habitat for diverse groups of waterbirds. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and provides critical breeding habitat for more than 60 bird species. However, the Great Salt Lake ecosystem also has a history of both mercury and selenium contamination, and this pollution could reduce the health and reproductive success of waterbirds. The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of mercury and selenium contamination to birds breeding within Great Salt Lake, especially at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, and to identify the waterbird species and areas at greatest risk to contamination. We sampled eggs from 33 species of birds breeding within wetlands of Great Salt Lake during 2010 ̶ 2012 and focused on American avocets (Recurvirostra americana), black-necked stilts (Himantopus mexicanus), Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri), white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi), and marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris) for additional studies of the effects of contaminants on reproduction.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Mercury and selenium contamination in waterbird eggs and risk to avian reproduction at Great Salt Lake, Utah
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1020
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151020
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description Report: x, 164 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Utah
Other Geospatial Great Salt Lake
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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