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Organochlorine Residues in Great Blue Herons from the Northwestern United States

Richard E. Fitzner, Lawrence J. Blus, Charles J. Henny and David W. Carlile
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 11, No. 2 (1988), pp. 293-300
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521011
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521011
Page Count: 8
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Organochlorine Residues in Great Blue Herons from the Northwestern United States
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Abstract

We collected eggs or young Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) from eight nesting colonies in the northwestern United States from 1977 through 1982. Subadults were collected at three estuarine areas in Puget Sound in 1981 and dead young or adults were collected at various localities. Nearly all samples analyzed contained residues of DDE and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); small residues of 10 other organic contaminants were detected infrequently. Maximum residues (wet weight) in eggs were 26 μg/g DDE and 13 μg/g PCBs. Livers of adults from Puget Sound contained up to 5 μg/g PCBs. Maximum residues of DDE and PCBs in livers of prefledgling Great Blue Herons from three colonies were only 0.45 and 1.20 μg/g, respectively. Maximum residues in whole bodies of hatchlings found dead at Lake Chatcolet, Idaho were 21 μg/g DDE and 11 μg/g PCBs. On a colony basis, eggshell thinning averaged from 4 to 13%. Multiple regression analysis indicated that DDE and PCBs accounted for 26 and 3%, respectively, of the variability in eggshell thickness. There was no evidence that any of the organochlorines detected were related to lethal or serious sublethal effects.

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