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Concentrations of Mercury and Selenium in Tissues of Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) from Southern Florida

Maria Soledad Sepulveda, Robert H. Poppenga, Julio J. Arrecis and Laura B. Quinn
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 21, No. 1 (1998), pp. 35-42
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521728
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521728
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Concentrations of Mercury and Selenium in Tissues of Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) from Southern Florida
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Abstract

Tissues from 99 Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) collected between 1994 and 1997 from southern Florida, were analyzed for concentrations of mercury and selenium. These concentrations were correlated with each other, including concentrations of mercury and selenium in liver. Mercury and selenium in liver increased from a mean of 15 and 8 mg kg-1 wet weight (ww) in the fall, winter and spring to a mean of 41 and 13 mg kg-1 ww in the summer, respectively. Similarly, concentrations of mercury in brain increased from a mean of 1.3 mg kg-1 ww in the fall, winter and spring to a mean of 2.2 mg kg-1 ww in the summer. Concentrations of selenium in liver increased with age. Sex, physical condition, year, and geographic location of recovery had no significant effect on mercury and selenium concentrations. Between 12 and 15% of the cormorants studied had hepatic selenium and mercury concentrations of over 20 and 50 mg kg-1 ww, respectively (considered lethal in some avian species). Liver selenium concentrations of over 3 mg kg-1 ww and brain mercury concentrations above 2 mg kg-1 ww (related to reproductive failure in adult loons and mallards) were observed in 57% and 32% of the cormorants studied, respectively. These results could mean that Double-crested Cormorants in southern Florida might be at risk of mercury and selenium poisoning.

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