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Mercury and other element exposure to tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting on Lostwood NWR

Custer, T. W., Custer C. M., Johnson, K. M., and Hoffman, D. J., 2008, Mercury and other element exposure to tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting on Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota: Environmental Pollution, v. 155, p. 217-226.


Elevated mercury concentrations in water were reported in the prairie wetlands at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, ND. In order to determine whether wildlife associated with these wetlands was exposed to and then accumulated higher mercury concentrations than wildlife living near more permanent wetlands (e.g. lakes), tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs and nestlings were collected from nests near seasonal wetlands, semi-permanent wetlands, and lakes. Mercury concentrations in eggs collected near seasonal wetlands were higher than those collected near semi-permanent wetlands or lakes. In contrast, mercury concentrations in nestling livers did not differ among wetland types. Mercury and other element concentrations in tree swallow eggs and nestlings collected from all wetlands were low. As suspected from these low concentrations, mercury concentrations in sample eggs were not a significant factor explaining the hatching success of the remaining eggs in each clutch.


Mercury, Tree swallows, Metals, Elements, Oxidative stress

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