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Title: Reproduction and environmental contamination in tree swallows nesting in the Fox River drainage and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA

Abstract

Concentration, accumulation, and effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on reproduction in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were studied at four sites in the Fox River drainage and in Green Bay, Lake Michigan, Wisconsin, USA, in 1994 and 1995. Total PCBs in eggs and newly hatched young and 12-d-old nestlings at two contaminated sites (Kidney Island and Arrowhead) were higher than concentrations at two reference sites. Concentrations of 11 PCB congeners were also higher at contaminated compared to reference sites. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) accumulated in nestlings at a higher rate at contaminated sites compared to reference locations. Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) was the only other organochlorine found in all samples; concentrations for all samples averaged {le}0.20 {micro}g/g wet weight. Total PCBs and p,p{prime}-DDE concentrations did not differ among clutches where all eggs hatched, some eggs hatched, and no eggs hatched.

Authors:
;  [1]; ;  [2];  [3]
  1. Geological Survey, LaCrosse, WI (United States). Biological Resources Div.
  2. Fish and Wildlife Service, Green Bay, WI (United States). Ecological Services Div.
  3. Geological Survey, Laurel, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
675418
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: PBD: Sep 1998
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 56 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, APPLIED STUDIES; FOOD CHAINS; WATER POLLUTION; REPRODUCTION; WISCONSIN; RIVERS; BAYS; POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS; BIRDS; BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS

Citation Formats

Custer, C.M., Custer, T.W., Allen, P.D., Stromborg, K.L., and Melancon, M.J. Reproduction and environmental contamination in tree swallows nesting in the Fox River drainage and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. United States: N. p., 1998. Web. doi:10.1002/etc.5620170919.
Custer, C.M., Custer, T.W., Allen, P.D., Stromborg, K.L., & Melancon, M.J. Reproduction and environmental contamination in tree swallows nesting in the Fox River drainage and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. United States. doi:10.1002/etc.5620170919.
Custer, C.M., Custer, T.W., Allen, P.D., Stromborg, K.L., and Melancon, M.J. Tue . "Reproduction and environmental contamination in tree swallows nesting in the Fox River drainage and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA". United States. doi:10.1002/etc.5620170919.
@article{osti_675418,
title = {Reproduction and environmental contamination in tree swallows nesting in the Fox River drainage and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA},
author = {Custer, C.M. and Custer, T.W. and Allen, P.D. and Stromborg, K.L. and Melancon, M.J.},
abstractNote = {Concentration, accumulation, and effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on reproduction in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were studied at four sites in the Fox River drainage and in Green Bay, Lake Michigan, Wisconsin, USA, in 1994 and 1995. Total PCBs in eggs and newly hatched young and 12-d-old nestlings at two contaminated sites (Kidney Island and Arrowhead) were higher than concentrations at two reference sites. Concentrations of 11 PCB congeners were also higher at contaminated compared to reference sites. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) accumulated in nestlings at a higher rate at contaminated sites compared to reference locations. Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) was the only other organochlorine found in all samples; concentrations for all samples averaged {le}0.20 {micro}g/g wet weight. Total PCBs and p,p{prime}-DDE concentrations did not differ among clutches where all eggs hatched, some eggs hatched, and no eggs hatched.},
doi = {10.1002/etc.5620170919},
journal = {Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry},
number = 9,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1998},
month = {Tue Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1998}
}
  • Samples of sediment and biota were collected from sites in the lower Fox River and southern Green Bay to determine existing or potential impacts of sediment-associated contaminants on different ecosystem components of this Great Lakes area of concern. Evaluation of benthos revealed a relatively depauperate community, particularly at the lower Fox River sites. Sediment pore water and bulk sediments from several lower Fox River sites were toxic to a number of test species including Pimephales promelas, Ceriodaphnia dubia, Hexagenia limbata, Selenastrum capricornutum, and Photobacterium phosphorum. An important component of the observed toxicity appeared to be due to ammonia. Evaluation ofmore » three bullhead (Ictalurus) species from the lower Fox River revealed an absence of preneoplastic or neoplastic liver lesions, and the Salmonella typhimurium bioassay indicated relatively little mutagenicity in sediment extracts. Apparent adverse reproductive effects were noted in two species of birds nesting along the lower Fox River and on a confined disposal facility for sediments near the mouth of the river, and there were measurable concentrations of potentially toxic 2,3,7,8-substituted polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and planar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) both in the birds and in sediments from several of the study sites. Based on toxic equivalency factors and the results of an in vitro bioassay with H4IIE rat hepatoma cells, it appeared that the majority of potential toxicity of the PCB/PCDF/PCDD mixture in biota from the lower Fox River/Green Bay system was due to the planar PCBs. The results of these studies are discussed in terms of an integrated assessment focused on providing data for remedial action planning.« less
  • Microtox assays with two different methods of osmotic adjustment were used to assess the toxicity of pore waters from 13 sediment samples collected from the Fox River watershed in Wisconsin. No toxicity was observed in Microtox assays osmotically adjusted with NaCl; however, 15-min EC50 values for assays osmotically adjusted with sucrose ranged from 52 to 63% pore water. Un-ionized ammonia accounted for a large part of the observed toxicity, but, based on a toxic units approach, did not account for all observed toxicity. Metals (Cu, Zn) and an unidentified compound(s) may potentially contribute to the observed effects in Microtox assaysmore » osmotically adjusted with sucrose. The use of alternative osmotic adjustment techniques in the Microtox assay is one potentially useful tool for elucidating several classes of compounds responsible for effects observed in toxicity assays.« less
  • The upper Hudson River of New York State, USA, is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as a result of industrial discharges throughout the latter half of this century. In 1994 and 1995, the authors monitored the transfer of PCBs from aquatic sediments to a terrestrial wildlife community using the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) as a model organism. Tree swallow eggs and nestlings were collected at four colonies established along a 40-km stretch of the upper Hudson River watershed. Samples were analyzed for total PCBs and PCB congeners, including non-ortho- and mono-ortho-substituted PCBs. Mean concentrations of PCBs in tree swallow eggsmore » and nestlings ranged from 721 to 62,200 ng/g and were as much as 15 times greater than PCB concentrations in tree swallow eggs and nestlings collected from PCB-contaminated areas within the Great Lakes ecosystem. The corresponding 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents (TEQs) calculated using avian toxic equivalency factors ranged from 410 to 25,400 pg/g. Concentrations of PCB congener 77 (3.3{prime}, 4,4{prime}-tetrachlorobiphenyl) were extremely elevated and were major contributors to the calculated TEQs. Homologue pattern comparisons between Hudson River and Saginaw River (Michigan, USA) ecosystems supported the hypothesis that a consistent Hudson River PCB source was the major contributor to PCBs in Hudson River tree swallows. The high concentrations of PCBs in Hudson River sediments and resultant concentrations observed in tree swallows were indicative of a potential elevated risk to these and other wildlife linked to the aquatic food web of the Hudson River ecosystem.« less
  • Tree swallows(Tachycineta bicolor) breeding along the Hudson River forage extensively on PCB-contaminated insects that emerge from the river. The authors studied the reproductive ecology and behavior of tree swallows breeding at several sites along the Hudson River. Related work has shown that PCB levels in both eggs and chicks were among the highest ever reported in this species, with concentrations comparable to those found in aquatic organisms in the Hudson River. In 1994, reproductive success at PCB-contaminated sites was significantly impaired relative to other sites in New York. Reduced reproductive success was largely due to high levels of nest abandonmentmore » during incubation and reduced hatchability of eggs. In 1995, reproductive output was normal, but higher than expected rates of abandonment and supernormal clutches persisted. Growth and development of nestlings was not significantly impaired. Given the levels of contamination in this population, the success of most Hudson River tree swallows reinforces the importance of understanding interspecific differences in the effects of contaminants.« less
  • In 1991, the authors collected red-winged blackbird (Agelauis phoeniceus) eggs and tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs and nestlings, and sediment samples from 2 wetland sites in the Great lakes and St. Lawrence River basin. They analyzed for chlorinated hydrocarbons and total mercury and found that biota contained contaminant concentrations which were one to two orders of magnitude above those in sediments. Maximum concentrations of contaminants were found in Akwesasne, St. Lawrence river (PCBs = 18,558.8 ng/g in red-winged blackbird eggs, oxychlordane = 58.8/g and mirex = 40.1 ng/g in tree swallow eggs); Mud Creek, Lake Erie and Cootes Paradise. Despitemore » the migratory habits of red-winged blackbirds and tree swallows, agreement among biota and sediment in geographic variation of contaminant concentrations supports the use of these animals as biomonitors of persistent chemicals. Although chlorinated hydrocarbon concentrations in red-winged blackbird eggs were significantly correlated with sediment contamination, the local nature of the tree swallow chick diet suggests that nestlings would be the best indicator of local contaminant trends.« less