USGS



BIOLOGICAL AND ECOTOXICOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF TERRESTRIAL VERTEBRATE SPECIES RESIDING IN ESTUARIES

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Biological Characteristics

Species

Sterna hirundo is 33-40 cm in length, with an approximate mass of 120 grams (Dunning, 1993). Its white body is offset by a black cap, a pale gray back and wings, and a red-tipped black bill. The tail is deeply forked (Bull and Farrand, 1977). In winter, the bill is all black, the forehead white, and a black mask surrounds the eyes (Ehrlich et al., 1988)

Status in Estuaries

This species can be found breeding along lakes, ponds, rivers, coastal beaches, and salt-marsh islands. The common tern is a colonial breeder that often associates with other gulls or terns. Nests are simple depressions in the sand or shallow cups of dead grass formed on beaches or open rocky areas. Typical clutch size is 2-3 eggs (Bull and Farrand, 1977; Spendelow and Patton, 1988). Young are semiprecocial (Ehrlich et al., 1988) The maximum age of a common tern recorded in nature is 25 years (Clapp et al., 1983).

Abundance and Range

Typical range is from Labrador south to the Caribbean and west to Wisconsin and Alberta. Wintering occurs from Florida to southern South America (Bull and Farrand, 1977). Common terns have an estimated population of 300,000 individuals nationwide (NACWCP, 2001).

Site Fidelity

One study found that 90% of terns observed had returned to the territory occupied the previous year. One pair was documented to return to the same site for 17 consecutive years (Cramp, 1985).

Ease of Census

Simple

Feeding Habits

Common terns feed in a variety of ways, including capture of prey while in-flight or by diving to the waters surface (Clapp et al., 1983). Prey items include small fish, shrimp, and insects (Bull and Farrand, 1977). Pairs generally occupy and defend a feeding territory, which may be more than 20 km away from the breeding colony (Ehrlich et al., 1988; Clapp et al., 1983).

Common Tern Contaminant Exposure Data

I.

Organochlorine Contaminants

A.

Concentrations in Adults and Juveniles

1.

In 1969-1970, a single adult common tern from Great Gull Island off the eastern tip of Long Island contained concentrations of 4.6 mg/g wet weight DDE and 10 mg/g PCB in breast muscle (Hays and Risebrough, 1972).

2.

HCB, dieldrin, PCBs and DDE were determined in breast muscle of 5 adult terns collected in 1971 from Hamilton Harbor, Ontario (Gilbertson, 1974). Single birds were collected to correspond to days 18, 32 (2 birds), 48, and 68 of the breeding season. In evaluating residue concentrations as a function of time during the breeding season, actual values were not tabulated but instead used to calculate least squares linear regressions and Spearman rank correlation coefficients. Concentrations of each chemical increased during the breeding season implicating local exposure after arrival at the breeding site as the cause. Estimating from graphs, DDE concentrations appear to range from 20-180 mg/g dry matter, and PCBs from 100-725 mg/g.

3.

One adult common tern found dead in Massachusetts between 1971-1975 contained 1.4 g/g wet weight DDE and 3.8 g/g PCBs in liver (Bourne and Bogan 1976).

4.

A common tern collected from Florida in 1973 contained 2.01 mg/g wet weight DDE and 3.37 mg/g total DDT in adipose tissue, and 0.55 mg/g DDE and 1.10 mg/g total DDT in uropygial glands (Johnston, 1976). PCBs and dieldrin were not detected.

5.

Seven post-fledgling terns collected in 1977 from western Lake Superior contained mean (range) concentrations of 5.1 (4.2-7.5) mg/g fresh weight PCBs, 0.01 (ND-0.02) mg/g HCB, 0.5 (0.4-0.7) mg/g DDE, and 0.5 (0.4-0.8) mg/g DDT in muscle (Niemi et al., 1986).

6.

During 19921994, 2 common terns were collected from the Nakdong River Estuary, Korea (Choi et al., 2001). Fat was collected and tested for persistent organochlorines. Concentrations in ng/g, lipid weight (n=2) were: total HCHs 29 and 112, CHLs 28 and 68, total DDTs 368 and 755, HCB 15 and 33, PCBs 960 and 1,690. Concentrations of 2,3,7.8-substituted PCDD/Fs (pg/g, lipid weight) were: 2378-TeCDD 2.9 and 4.4, 12378-PeCDD 5.8 and 9.6, 1234678-HpCDD 0.9 and 1.8, 2378-TeCDF 6.4 and 14.8, 12378-PeCDF 4.2 and 6.5, 23478-PeCDF 2.7 and 20.0, 123478HxCDF ND and 2.6, 123678-HxCDF ND and 3.5, 1234678-HpCDF 1.5 and 2.8, 1234789-HpCDF ND and 1.2, OCDF ND and 2.6, PCDDs 10.5 and 14.9, PCDFs 18.7 and 50.1, PCDD/Fs 29.2 and 65.0, WHO TEQs 18.2 and 50.1.

7.

Terns were collected from the Selenga delta, Lake Baikal, Russia in September 1996 (autumn) and May-Junne 1997 (spring) by shooting (Kunisue et al., 2002). Seasonal variation was examined by comparing persistent organochlorine levels from the whole body from differing seasons. Data (mean, range) is presented in ng/g lipid weight.

Autumn (N=5) PCBs 20,000 (5,300-39,000), DDTs 7,400 (3,000-16,000) HCHs 180 (83-400), chlordanes 130 (11-680).

Spring (N=7) PCBs 5,400 (2,900-7,800), DDTs 10,000 (650-26,000), HCHs 1,400 (100-3,300), chlordanes 40 (2.2-94). 

8.

In 1997, 14 or 15 blood samples were taken from adult common terns from each of three different colonies in The Netherlands (van den Brink and Bosveld, 2001). The Terneuzen colony (N=15) had a significantly higher geometric mean Σ-PCB concentration than that of the Oesterdam colony (N=14) (61 and 33 mg/g fat, respectively).  The Griend colony (N=14) had a geometric mean Σ-PCB concentration of 49 mg/g, higher concentrations of PCB congeners 28/31, 52, and 95, and lower concentrations of congener 101.  Concentrations of PCB congeners 61, 105, 118, 138, 141, 146, 151, 153, 170, 174, 177, 180, 194, and 196 varied little between colonies.

B.

Concentrations in Chicks and Nestlings

1.

In 1969 and 1970, eight abnormal chicks (crossed bills, underdevelopment, absence of feathers, death), 1-42 days of age, were collected from Great Gull Island off the eastern tip of Long Island (Hays and Risebrough, 1972). In breast muscle, individual DDE values ranged from 0.49 mg/g wet weight in a 42-day old chick to 9.0 mg/g in a one-day old chick. PCB concentrations ranged from 4.9-140 mg/g, with both extremes occurring in one-day old chicks.

2.

In 1977, organochlorines were measured in muscle and blood of pre-fledgling terns from western Lake Superior (Niemi, et al.,1986). Mean (range) concentrations in muscle were 2.5 (1.3-3.4) mg/g fresh weight PCBs, 0.01 (0.01-0.01) mg/g HCB, 0.3 (0.02-0.4) mg/g DDE and 0.3 (0.2-0.4) mg/g DDT. In blood, PCB concentrations were 0.2 (0.2-0.3) mg/g, and concentrations of HCB, DDE, and DDT were <0.03 mg/g.

3.

In 1981, carcass samples (less liver, kidneys, beak, feet, wing-tips, and gastrointestinal tract) from pre-fledgling common terns were collected at three locations in Rhode Island (Providence Barge, Wickford Tower, and Price Neck) (Custer et al., 1985). DDE was detected in all terns from Providence Barge and Wickford Tower at mean (range) concentrations of 0.24 (0.16-0.33) and 0.21 (0.14-0.33) mg/g wet weight, respectively, and in one tern from Price Neck at 0.11 mg/g. PCBs, detected in all birds, were found at concentrations of 2.82 (1.8-4.0), 1.17 (0.85-2.4), and 0.85 (0.65-1.0) mg/g, respectively. Dieldrin was found in only 3 birds at a maximum concentration of 0.14 mg/g. Two polychlorinated diphenyl ether isomers were detected at low concentrations in three birds from Providence Barge. No other organochlorine contaminants were detected.

4.

Eggs were collected in 1993 and 1994 from Gooi Lake (GL93 and GL94), The Netherlands, and in 1994 from a polluted colony in the Harinvliet estuary, The Netherlands (Ha94) and incubated in the laboratory (Bosveld et al., 2000).  The GL93 chicks were dosed with 0, 0.1, and 1 ng PCB 126/g fish weight.  The GL94 chicks were dosed with 0.1, 0.3, 1, 10, and 33 ng PCB 126 combined with 0.1, 0.3, 1, 10, or 33 ug PCB 153.  The Ha94 chicks were dosed with 0 PCBs or 1ng PCB 126 combined with 1 ug PCB 153.  Twenty-one days after exposure, tern liver concentrations of PCBs (range of means for GL94 and Ha94, ng/g lipid) were: PCB 77, 514-1915; PCB 126, 16-3603; PCB 169, 1.8-7.8; PCB 101, 153-3986; PCB 153, 1.7-840.  Avian TEQs of liver concentrations (ng TEQ/g lipid, estimated from graph) at 21 days for GL93 0, 0.1 and 1, GL94 0, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 10, and 33, and Ha94 0 and 1, respectively were 0.28, 1.9, 20, 6.5, 8.9, 7, 7.5, 31, 98, 4.3, and 7; EROD for the same groups was 31, 36, 75, 15, 18, 13, 15, 33, 154, 14, 32; and PROD for the same groups was NA, NA, NA, 0.5, 0.6, 0.6, 0.5, 1.3, 2.8, 0.6, and 0.6.  The EROD for GL93 dose 1, GL94 dose 33, Ha94 dose 1, and PROD GL94 doses 10 and 33 were significantly different from controls.  Total thyroxin plasma was less than 60 nM in all chicks.  Hepatic microsomal hydroxylation of testosterone resulted in a number of hydroxylated metabolites in the combination experiments with PCB 126 and 153, including 6β-, 15β-, 16α-, 16β-, and 19-OHT.  Femur length and primary flight feather length were significantly different from the control (2.77 cm, and 16.04 cm) in the GL93 dosed with 0.1 (2.21 cm, and 16.12 cm) and GL93 dosed with 1 (2.33 cm, and 16.60 cm).  Bursa weight decreased as liver concentrations of PCBs (in avian TEQS) increased in the GL94 groups. 

5.

Two common tern eggs, two 5-day old chicks, and one 16-day old chick were collected in 1988 from the lower Fox River/Green Bay watershed in Wisconsin (Ankley et al., 1993). Total PCB concentrations were 8.38 and 14.1 mg/g in the eggs, 5.6 and 8.29 mg/g in the 5-day old chicks, and 4.97 mg/g in the 16-day old chick. PCB congeners detected were primarily the 77 and 105 isomers in both eggs and chicks, with the 126 and 169 isomers also detected. Concentrations of PCB 77 were 30.7 and 19.1 ng/g in the eggs, 16.7 and 17.4 ng/g in the 5-day old chicks, and 23.2 ng/g in the 16-day old chick. Concentrations of PCB 105 were $398 ng/g in the eggs, 224 and 243 ng/g in the 5-day old chicks, and 91.8 ng/g in the 16-day old chick. Substituted PCDDs and PCDFs were detected in some but not all samples, and were generally highest in the eggs. OCDD was found at the greatest concentrations at 66.5 and 108.0 pg/g in the eggs, 11.0 and 12.1 pg/g in 5-day old chicks, and 18.0 pg/g in the 16-day old chick.

6.

Common tern eggs were collected in June 1994 from Huizerhoef island in Gooi Lake, The Netherlands, and incubated and raised in the laboratory (Feyk et al., 2000).  Fourteen chicks (CBT group) were fed fish injected with PCB 126 and PCB 153 in corn oil at 0 PCBs; 1.0 ng PCB 126 and 1.0 ug PCB 153/g fish wet weight; and 10 ng PCB 126 and 10 ug PCB 153/g fish wet weight, 16 other chicks were given the same PCB doses, but not subjected to the caffeine breath test (GL94 group).  Prior to CBT, the CTB group chicks were given an intravenous injection of 1 mg caffeine/kg body weight.  For CBT chicks in the 0,1, and 10 groups respectively, the percent of caffeine dose metabolized in the 40 minute test for week 1 was 0.032, 0.031, 0.056; and for week 2, 0.040, 0.030, and 0.049.  EROD (picomoles of resorufin/minute/milligram of microsomal protein) for week 3 for the CBT chicks in the 0, 1, and 10 groups was 18, 18, and 72.  EROD for week 3 in the GL94 group at 0, 1, and 10 was 15, 15, and 33.  CBT metabolization at dose 10 was significantly greater than the CBT 0; GL94 10 was significantly different from CBT 10.  AT 21 days, body weight ranged 102-109g, liver 3.0-3.4g, thymus 0.406-0.504g, right thyroid 0.0042-0.0064 g, bursa 0.173-0.263g, tibia length 4.12-4.25 cm, tibia weight 2.16-2.40g, femur length 2.38-2.48 cm, femur weight 0.147-0.158 g, ulna 6.79-7.01 cm, and primary flight feathers 15.81-16.06 cm.  Bursa weight was significantly greater in the GL94 0 than in the CBT 0 groups (p<0.05). 

C.

Concentrations in Eggs and Embryos

1.

In 1968 and 1969, 10 common tern eggs were collected from each of six colonies in Alberta and Saskatchewan and analyzed as composites (Vermeer and Reynolds, 1970). Mean concentrations of DDE ranged from 2.04-25.2 mg/g wet weight among the colonies and means of dieldrin from 0.017-0.396 mg/g. Variation in DDE was calculated in individual eggs from one additional colony, Chip Lake, and revealed a mean (range) DDE concentration of 6.38 (1.2-33.3) mg/g, and a coefficient of variation of 151.93.

2.

In 1969-1970, two abnormal embryos collected from Great Gull Island, off the tip of Long Island, contained PCB concentrations of 14 and 56 mg/g wet weight, and DDE concentrations of 3.1 and 4.5 mg/g (Hays and Risebrough, 1972).

3.

From 1969-1972, common tern eggs were collected from various locations in Canada (Gilbertson and Reynolds, 1974). Geometric mean concentrations of DDE and PCB, respectively, were 59.5 and 5.54 mg/g dry weight in Alberta, 19.9 and 81.7 mg/g in Lake Huron, 24.4 and 156 mg/g in Lake Erie, 46.9 and 268 mg/g in Lake Ontario, 49.6 and 258 mg/g in Hamilton Harbour, 1.96 and 4.31 mg/g in Quebec, and 3.05 and 8.61 mg/g in New Brunswick.

4.

In 1970, 13 abandoned tern eggs collected from Hamilton Harbour, Ontario contained mean (range) concentrations of 7.67 (1.35-14.7) mg/g dry weight HCB, 72.3 (25.3-147) mg/g DDE, 4.93 (2.47-10.1) mg/g dieldrin, and 419 (97.0-811 mg/g) PCBs (Gilbertson and Reynolds, 1972). DDD, DDT, and heptachlor epoxide were detected in low concentrations in some eggs.

5.

Fifty tern eggs collected during 1970-1973 from 5 colonies in eastern Canadian coastal waters contained DDE concentrations of 0.49-1.11 mg/g wet weight (Pearce et al, 1979). PCB concentrations ranged from 1.37-1.99 mg/g and concentrations of dieldrin were <0.1 mg/g.

6.

Throughout the 1971 breeding season, eggs, or newly hatched chicks corresponding to eggs laid between reproduction season days 30 and 90, were collected from Hamilton Harbour in Ontario (Gilbertson, 1974). Actual numerical values of concentrations of these materials were not tabulated but were used to calculate linear regressions following concentrations during the reproduction season. An increase in DDE concentrations as the breeding season progressed implicated local exposure to DDE (or parent DDT). Concentrations of PCBs also increased during the breeding season but relatively high initial values in breeder birds suggested exposure prior to arrival at the breeding site. Similar results were obtained with dieldrin and HCB.

7.

From 1971 to 1973, abnormalities in common tern chicks (mainly crossed bills) in the Great Lakes were examined relative to residual concentrations of PCBs in eggs (Gilbertson et al., 1976). All incidences of abnormalities were low (<1%), but differences were noted in mean PCB concentrations between colonies. In colonies without abnormalities, mean PCB concentrations were 155 mg/g, whereas in colonies with abnormalities mean PCB concentrations were 257 mg/g.

8.

From 1971-1981, common tern eggs were sampled from sites in coastal Massachusetts from Boston Harbor to New Bedford and on Cape Cod (Nisbet and Reynolds, 1984). In 1972, mean concentrations in eggs from 4 sites ranged from 0.92 to 2.58 mg/g wet weight for DDE and 4.6 -23.9 mg/g for PCBs. Concentrations of all other contaminants, including endrin, were <0.14 mg/g. In eggs collected from 1973-74, mean concentrations of DDE ranged from 1.80 mg/g wet weight at Snake Island to 0.49 mg/g at Nauset New Island, and PCB means ranged from 29.4 mg/g at Ram Island to 3.17 mg/g at Nauset New Island. Concentrations of TDE, parent DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, and HCB were <0.1 mg/g. In eggs from Bird Island, mean DDE concentrations decreased from 1.02 mg/g to 0.20 mg/g from 1971-1981. PCB concentrations were variable, ranging from 9.5-21.9 mg/g, but did not decrease significantly in this period. Values for other organochlorines were extremely low. Eggs collected from Monomoy Island from 1973-1978 showed similar trends in mean values of DDE and PCBs, with slight decreases in DDE and variable PCBs values but no obvious trend. In 1971, nine samples of muscle and eggs from Bird Island contained similar mean concentrations of DDE (1.19 and 1.02 mg/g, respectively) and PCBs (18.2 and 15.4 mg/g).

9.

In 1973, ten 3-egg clutches were collected from common terns nesting in Yarmouth Massachusetts (Nisbet, 1982). Eggs were marked as laid and designated A, B, or C, with A the first laid and C the last. Mean DDE concentrations in the A-, B-, and C- eggs were not significantly different (0.59, 0.63, and 0.66 mg/g wet weight, respectively), and the range of values for all three groups was 0.44-1.44 mg/g. Mean values of DDD and DDT were significantly lower in the A-eggs than the B- and C-eggs. Mean concentrations in all egg groups were <0.035 mg/g, with concentrations in individual eggs ranging from 0.009-0.22 mg/g. Mean dieldrin concentrations were <0.05 mg/g for all groups, and individual values ranged from 0.029-0.83 mg/g. Mean values of heptachlor epoxide and HCB were significantly lower in the A-eggs than in the C-eggs, and were <0.018 mg/g for all groups, with a range of 0.003-0.028 mg/g. Mean PCB concentrations (5.28, 5.41 and 6.36 mg/g) were significantly lower in the A-eggs than the C-eggs, and individual values ranged 4.0-8.5 mg/g.

10.

Means (range) concentrations in ten common tern eggs collected from western Lake Superior in 1977 were 5.2 (2.5-8.2) mg/g wet weight PCBs, 0.06 (0.02-0.37)mg/g HCB, 2.5 (0.08-6.8) mg/g DDE, and 0.9 (0.6-1.6) mg/g DDT (Niemi et al., 1986).

11.

Common tern eggs (N=178) were collected in 1980 from nine colonies on the Atlantic Coast from Rhode Island to North Carolina (Custer et al., 1983). Mean DDE concentrations, detected in all but one of the eggs, ranged from 0.30 to 0.78 mg/g wet weight. PCBs were found in all but five eggs with means ranging from 0.72 to 8.23 mg/g. At one site, eggs of known laying sequence, (A, B, or C in a clutch), did not differ from one another in shell weight, shell thickness, or mean concentrations of DDE or PCBs. Concentrations of DDD (detected in two eggs), dieldrin (17 eggs), cis-chlordane (5 eggs), and trans-nonachlor (25 eggs), were <0.31 mg/g.

12.

Mean (range) DDE and PCB concentrations in ten eggs collected in 1981 from Wickford, Rhode Island, were 0.43 (0.23-0.79) and 2.17 (1.35-3.21) mg/g wet weight, respectively, which were significantly lower than 1980 values from the same site (Custer et al., 1985).

13.

Ten common tern eggs (one per nest) were collected in 1981 from each of four nesting colonies in the three lower Great Lakes (Weseloh, et al., 1989). DDE was detected in all samples from the four sites with individual values ranging from 0.30 mg/g wet weight at Port Colborne (Lake Erie) to 4.22 mg/g at Leslie St. Spit (Lake Ontario). PCBs were also detected in all samples, ranging from 1.77 mg/g at N. Limestone Island (Lake Huron) to 17.36 mg/g at Leslie St. Spit. Concentrations of DDD were <0.15 mg/g in a total of six eggs from only two sites. Dieldrin was in some of the eggs from three sites at concentrations <0.22 mg/g. Mirex was also detected at three of the sites, with the highest concentrations (0.28-1.59 mg/g) found at Leslie St. Spit. Concentrations of other organochlorines were generally <0.1 mg/g. Comparisons of DDE and PCB concentrations with values determined in 1969-1973 revealed that the current levels had decreased by up to 80-90%.

14.

The potency of PCB-containing extracts from common tern eggs collected from Great Lakes colonies in 1986-87 were bioassayed by their ability to induce cytochrome P-450IA1-associated EROD activity in H4IIE rat hepatoma cells using TCDD as a standard (Tillitt et al, 1991). TCDD-EQs for common tern egg extract from Lake Michigan and Lake Huron were187.4 and 104.3 pg/g, repsctively. Even though the biological significance of these values have not been established and may not be predictive of toxicological effects, when extracts from several species were considered together, the greatest values were found in areas with the most severely affected reproduction effects.

15.

Fifteen common tern eggs were collected in 1991 from seven colonies in the Netherlands and one colony in Belgium (Murk et al., 1994). Yolk sac polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations were calculated both as TEQs (colony means ranged from 3.72-17.82 ng/g lipid weight) and mono-ortho PCBs (6.22-39.66 mg/g).

16.

Thirty pipped common tern eggs were collected from Bird Island, Massachusetts in 1993 (Nisbet et al., 1996). Twenty-five PCB congeners were analyzed, and the mean total PCB concentration was found as 14.9 mg/g wet weight. Congeners found at the greatest levels were 118/106, 138, and 153. Mean DDE concentrations were .31 mg/g. Concentrations of dieldrin, mirex, HCB, a-chlordane, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane, DDD, DDT, and toxaphene were <0.025 mg/g. o,p'-DDT, o,p'-DDD, o,p'-DDE, a-HCH, b-HCH, g-HCH, d-HCH, endrin, and g-chlordane were not detected.

17.

Common tern embryos were collected from two Massachusetts colonies, Bird Island, Buzzards Bay (N=14), and Nauset, Cap Cod (N=8), in the summer of 1994 and again from Bird Island in 1996 (Hart, 1998).  Contaminant concentrations (lipid weight) at Bird Island in 1994 were 114.59 g/g total PCBs, 39.74 ng/g TCDD-EQ, 3.67 g/g total DDTs, 0.73 g/g trans-nonachlor, and 0.24 g/g mirex.  At Nauset, concentrations were 35.36 g/g total PCBs, 12.36 ng/g TCDD-EQ, 3.33 g/g total DDTs, 0.28 g/g trans-nonachlor, and 0.25 g/g mirex.  Concentrations of PCBs and TCDD-EQs were significantly greater at Bird Island.  In 1996, total PCB concentrations in Bird Island eggs were 172.4 g/g, and TCDD-EQs were 38.2 ng/g.  PCB 126 accounted for the greatest contribution to TCDD-EQs (81.7%), followed by PCB 77 (8.2%), PCB 118 (4.6%), and PCB 81 (3.8%).

18.

In 1997, common tern eggs were collected from Ram Island, Buzzards Bay, MA, USA, and a reference site, Bodkin Island, Chesapeake Bay, MD, USA (French et al., 2001).  Organochlorines were measured in egg contents, minus the yolk sample that was taken for hormone testing.  Concentrations of PCBs were significantly higher at Ram island than at Bodkin.  Median PCB concentrations in whole eggs from Bodkin Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 4,4, and 5 ppm in lipid.  Median PCB concentrations in whole eggs from Ram Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 14,15, and 15ppm in lipid. The 3rd eggs laid had significantly more PCBs than the 1st or 2nd, which did not differ from each other.  Concentrations were estimated from a graph.

II.

Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticides

 

No direct exposure data available

III.

Trace Elements, Metals, and Metalloids

A.

Concentrations in Adults and Juveniles

1.

In 1971, Hg values in breast muscle of five adult birds from Hamilton Harbour, Ontario, increased during the course of the breeding season, though actual values were not reported (Gilbertson, 1974).

2.

In 1971, adult common tern carcasses were collected from two colonies in Lake Ontario: Great Gull Island and Hamilton Harbor (Connors et al., 1975). Mean metal concentrations for each colony, respectively, were as follows (wet weight for Hg, dry weight for all others): Hg: 0.32 and 0.41 mg/g bone, 0.69 and 0.93 mg/g breast, 1.77 and 2.28 mg/g liver, 1.41 and 2.68 mg/g kidney; Cd: 1.61 and 1.47 mg/g bone, 0.38 and 0.69 mg/g breast, 3.82 and 3.69 mg/g liver, 21.3 and 29.5 mg/g kidney; Cu: 5.43 and 6.06 mg/g bone, 17.7 and 17.8 mg/g breast, 23.5 and 17.6 mg/g liver, 19.2 and 20.6 mg/g kidney; Zn: 197 and 232 mg/g bone, 44.2 and 42.7 mg/g breast, 118.9 and 91.6 mg/g liver, 100.5 and 105.3 mg/g kidney; Cr: 9.40 and 9.81 mg/g bone, <1.0 mg/g breast, <2.0 mg/g liver, 3.94 and 3.14 mg/g kidney; Ni: 14.5 and 13.8 mg/g bone, <2.0 mg/g breast, <5.0 mg/g liver, 10.41 and 4.53 mg/g kidney; Co: 4.4 and 4.5 mg/g bone, <1.0 mg/g breast, <5.0 mg/g liver and kidney; Ag: 1.92 and 1.97 mg/g bone, <0.5 mg/g breast, <1.0 mg/g liver and kidney; Pb: 18.1 and 12.2 mg/g bone, <1.0 mg/g breast, <10.0 mg/g liver and kidney.

3.

Concentrations of Hg were compared between Long Island terns experiencing abnormal feather loss and those considered normal in the early 1970's (Gochfeld, 1980). Mean Hg concentrations in "normal" and "abnormal" terns were 37.3 and 64.4 mg/g wet weight in blood, 1.06 and 2.22 mg/g in liver, 0.99 and 1.56 mg/g in kidney, 0.68 and 1.16 mg/g in muscle, and 0.42 and 0.85 mg/g in brain.

4.

In 1978-1984, 30 adult terns from the Quoddy region in the Bay of Fundy contained mean Hg concentrations of 0.166 mg/g wet weight in muscle, 1.249 mg/g in liver, 1.505 mg/g in kidney, and 0.190 mg/g in brain (Braune, 1987).

5.

Liver samples from eleven adult birds at least one year of age were collected from the Raritan Bay estuary in northeastern New Jersey (Gochfeld and Burger, 1982). Date of collection was not reported but most likely occurred in the period of 1979 to 1981. Mean (range) Cd concentrations were 1.587 (0.449 to 2.417) mg/g wet weight. Mean Cd concentrations of stomach contents of five birds were 0.167 (0.132-0.201) mg/g. An approximate ninefold increase in concentration was found in the liver.

6.

Feather sampling occurred between April 1993 and June 1995 at 3 nesting colonies on the Azores Archipelago (Monteiro et al., 1998). Adult breast feathers (N=27) were analyzed for Hg concentrations in mg/g fresh weight, mean = 2.1 (1.2-3.5).

B.

Concentrations in Chicks and Nestlings

1.

Hepatic Hg concentrations of five abnormal one to forty-two day old chicks collected in 1969/1970 from Great Gull Island ranged from 0.708-1.160 mg/g wet weight (Hays et al., 1972).

2.

In 1981, pre-fledgling common terns were collected from a site in Rhode Island associated with high metal contamination (Providence Barge) (Custer et al., 1986). Hepatic metal concentrations were compared with those of terns from less contaminated sites (Wickford Tower and Price Neck). Nickel occurred in significantly more chicks from Price Neck (67%) than other colonies, and concentrations for all sites were <1.0 mg/g dry weight. Chromium levels were #18.31 mg/g from Providence Barge, <14.52 mg/g for Wickford Tower, and <0.97 mg/g for Price Neck. Concentrations of Cu were highest at Providence Barge (20.6-181.1 mg/g) and Fe highest at Providence Barge and Price Neck (333.2-971.9 mg/g). Concentrations of Zn were greatest at Providence Barge and Wickford Tower (29.0-119.3 mg/g). Magnesium and Mn were found at similar concentrations at all three sites, from 717.0-1438.0 mg/g and 12.5-29.0 mg/g, respectively.

C.

Concentrations in Eggs and Embryos

1.

Hepatic Hg concentrations of two embryos collected in 1969/1970 from Great Gull Island ranged from 0.238-0.774 mg/g wet weight (Hays et al., 1972).

2.

Concentrations of Hg in 32 eggs collected in 1971 from Hamilton Harbor, Ontario did not vary during the breeding season (Gilbertson, 1974). In evaluating residue concentrations as a function of time during the breeding season, actual values were not tabulated but instead used to calculate least squares linear regressions and Spearman rank correlation coefficients. Concentrations of Hg in fish near the colony ranged from 0.07 to 0.21 mg/g.

3.

In 1971, nine tern eggs were collected from Great Gull Island in Ontario (Connors et al., 1975). Mean (range) concentrations were as follows: 2.15 (0.92-4.26) mg/g dry weight Cr, 4.89 (3.41-5.47) mg/g dry weight Cu, 70.5 (53.9-89.5) mg/g dry weight Zn, and 0.09 (0.02-0.27) mg/g wet weight Hg.

4.

Mean Hg concentrations in 40 common tern eggs collected during 1972-73 from 5 colonies in eastern Canadian coastal waters ranged from 0.06-0.12 mg/g wet weight (Pearce et al, 1979).

5.

In 1973, eggs were collected from two common tern clutches on the Lake St. Clair flats near Lake Erie (Stendell et al., 1976). Mercury was detected in all eggs with mean clutch concentrations of 1.090 and 0.730 mg/g wet weight. Mercury concentrations showed a slight decline from 1970 to 1973 in eggs collected from the same site.

6.

In 1982, 24 eggs were collected from the coastal area of New Jersey and compared to those of nine archival eggs collected from the same colonies in 1971 (Burger and Gochfeld, 1988b). All metal concentrations decreased significantly from 1971 to 1982, except for that of Co, which only showed a slight decrease. Mean Pb concentrations decreased from 2.88 to 0.446 mg/g fresh weight; Hg from 0.648 to 0.337 mg/g; Ni from 5.19 to 1.05 mg/g; Cd from 0.455 to 0.156 mg/g; Cu from 3.79 to 0.913 mg/g; Mn from 2.68 to 0.578 mg/g; and Zn from 43.2 to 22.0 mg/g. Cobalt concentrations fell from 0.741 to 0.537 mg/g.

7.

In 1984, 24 eggs collected at a New York Bight colony contained mean concentrations of 0.004 mg/g wet weight Cd and 0.089 mg/g Pb (Burger and Gochfeld, 1991).

8.

Mercury concentrations in common tern eggs were found to decrease with laying sequence in a clutch collected at Jade Bay, Wadden Sea, in 1988 (Becker, 1992). Mean (range) Hg concentrations were 0.59 (0.33-1.13) mg/g wet weight in first-laid eggs, 0.46 (0.22-0.76) mg/g in second-laid eggs and 0.43 (0.20-0.79) mg/g in third-laid eggs.

9.

In 1989, common tern eggs were collected from colonies in New Jersey and in the New York Bight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1993). Mean concentrations from the two sites were 0.007 and 0.012 mg/g Cd dry weight, respectively, and 0.247 and 0.389 mg/g Pb.

10.

Mercury was determined in eggs of common terns from the New York Bight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1997). Mean concentrations were approximately 0.9 mg/g dry weight in samples collected from Cedar Beach, New York, 0.95 mg/g from Lavalette, New Jersey, 0.95 mg/g from Pettit, New Jersey, and 1.45 mg/g from East Ham, New Jersey.

11.

Concentrations of Hg in common tern embryos collected in the summer of 1994 from two Massachusetts colonies, Bird Island, Buzzards Bay (N=14), and Nauset, Cap Cod (N=8) were 1.46 and 1.01 g/g dry weight, respectively (Hart, 1998).

12.

Common tern eggs (N=13) were collected from the Axios Delta, Greece, in 1997 (Goutner et al., 2001). Mean (range) concentrations in eggs (ng/g wet weight) were: Pb 83 (4-313) and Cd 7 (1-12).

13.

In 1997, common tern eggs were collected from Ram Island, Buzzards Bay, MA, USA, and a reference site, Bodkin Island, Chesapeake Bay, MD, USA (French et al., 2000).  Metals were measured in egg contents, minus the yolk sample taken for hormone testing.  Hg and Se in eggs did not differ between colonies or eggs by laying order. Median Hg concentrations in whole eggs from Bodkin Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 0.65, 0.59, and 0.56 μg/g dry weight. Median Hg concentrations in whole eggs from Ram Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 0.57,0.40, and 0.50 μg/g.  Median Se concentrations in whole eggs from Bodkin Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 2.5, 2.4, and 2.55 μg/g. Median Se concentrations in whole eggs from Ram Island, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd egg laid, respectively were 2.0, 1.9, and 1.8 μg/g.  Concentrations were estimated from a graph.

14.

During the breeding seasons of 1998 and 1999, 47 common tern eggs were collected from colonies at Punta del Fangar and Punta de la Banya of the Ebro Delta, Spain (Guitart et al., 2003). One egg was broken during transport, leaving only yolk available. Total Hg and Se levels (geometric mean and range) in albumen and yolk for each site are given in ng/g wet weight. Albumen: Fangar (n=33) Hg 474 (112-1717), Se 428 (50-1864), Banya (n=13) Hg 807 (164-1907), Se 578 (109-2431). Yolk: Fangar (n=34) Hg 136 (40-933), Se 708 (211-1645), Banya (n=13) Hg 141 (30-1441), Se 543 (133-2187).

D.

Concentrations in Feathers

1.

Concentrations of Hg in feathers were compared between Long Island terns experiencing abnormal feather loss and those considered normal in the early 1970's (Gochfeld, 1980). Mean Hg concentrations in "normal" and "abnormal" terns were 1.27 and 1.75 mg/g dry weight, respectively.

2.

From 1976-1992 breast feathers were collected from terns in the breeding colony at Cedar Beach, Long Island (Burger et al., 1994a). Lead concentrations were measured and compared to values associated with physiological and behavioral impairment in laboratory studies. Actual Pb concentrations were not tabulated but instead plotted graphically to visualize time trends. Mean Pb concentrations were highest in adults in 1978 (5.57 mg/g), and lowest in 1987 (0.993 mg/g). Means thereafter were somewhat variable but generally showed steady increases to 1.7 mg/g in 1990 and 3.0 to 3.7 mg/g in 1989, 1991, and 1992. Pb concentrations were similar to those in experimental birds exhibiting behavioral and growth abnormalities.

3.

Primary wing feathers were collected from terns in 1982-1984 in the Quoddy region of the Bay of Fundy off southeastern New Brunswick, Canada (Braune, 1987). Mean Hg concentrations in 10 primary feathers ranged from about 1.5-2.9 mg/g dry weight, with no significant difference between feathers.

4.

Feathers from 24 adult male and female terns were collected in 1984 from a nesting colony in the New York Bight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1991). Concentrations of Cd were 0.047 mg/g dry weight in males and 0.051 mg/g in females. Concentrations of Pb were 1.365 mg/g in males and 1.616 mg/g in females.

5.

Common tern feathers from adults and juveniles were collected from the German North Sea coast in 1989 and 1990 and compared with tern feathers dating back to 1866 obtained from museum specimens (Thompson et al., 1993). Mercury concentrations were found to exhibit no geographical variation. Analysis of long-term trends revealed about a four-fold increase in Hg concentrations between the periods of pre-1941 and post-1941. Post-1941 adult terns had a median Hg concentration of 2.96 mg/g fresh weight and a mean of 3.47 mg/g, compared to pre-1941 values of 0.62 and 0.98 mg/g, respectively. Post-1941 juveniles had median concentrations of 4.38 mg/g compared to 2.02 mg/g for pre-1941 terns.

6.

In 1989, feathers of fledgling terns were collected from three nesting colonies in New Jersey and the New York Bight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1993). Mean concentrations of Cd for the three colonies were 0.046, 0.026, and 0.104 mg/g dry weight. Means for Pb were 1.559, 1.155, and 0.912 mg/g.

7.

Body feathers were collected from 26 common terns from Cedar Beach, Long Island to evaluate the effect of feather color on Cd and Pb levels (Gochfeld et al., 1991). The year of collection was not reported but presumably occurred in 1988-1989. There were no significant differences in content of Cd or Pb in white or black feathers. Mean concentrations of Cd were 0.20 mg/g dry weight in white feathers and 0.17 mg/g in black feathers. Mean Pb concentrations were 1.62 in white feathers and 1.96 mg/g in black feathers.

8.

Breast feathers of known-age adult and fledgling birds were collected from at the Bird Island, Massachusetts breeding colony (Burger et al., 1994b). Sample collection dates were not reported but probably occurred between 1990-1992. The study included twenty-one fledgling birds, nineteen 2-3 year old birds, thirty-nine 9-11 year old birds, and fourteen over 15 years of age. Mean concentrations of Pb varied from 1.010 mg/g dry weight in birds 9-11 years to 1.530 mg/g in birds over 15 years. None of the differences between age groups were statistically significant and the overall mean concentration of Pb was 1.1150 mg/g. Mercury concentrations were remarkedly constant, with mean values ranging from 2.900 mg/g in the 9-11 year birds to 3.100 mg/g in the fledgling birds. Mean Cr concentrations were 3.070 mg/g in the fledgling birds, 1.130 mg/g in birds 2-3 years of age, and 3.680 mg/g in birds over 15 years. Manganese and Se values were low in fledgling birds, each approximately 0.86 mg/g wet weight, then increased to maximum means of 2.250 mg/g Mn and 2.400 mg/g Se in birds over 15 years.

9.

Breast and wing feathers were collected from young common terns on Cedar Beach, Long Island in 1991 (Burger and Gochfeld, 1992). Metal concentrations in feathers were detected as follows: Pb: 1403 ng/g breast feather (whole), 918 ng/g wing feather (whole), 1958 ng/g wing feather (distal, fully formed without blood supply), 890 ng/g wing feather (proximal, formed with a blood supply); 558 ng/g wing feather (blade), and 1657 ng/g wing feather (sheath); Cd: 112 ng/g breast (whole), 61 ng/g wing (whole), 61 ng/g wing (distal), 64 ng/g wing (proximal), 34 ng/g wing (blade), 63 ng/g wing (sheath); Hg: 2608 ng/g breast (whole), 2011 ng/g wing (whole), 2404 ng/g wing (distal), 1683 ng/g wing (proximal), 1631 ng/g wing (blade), and 651 ng/g wing (sheath); Se: 1251 ng/g breast (whole), 1038 ng/g wing (whole), 1058 ng/g wing (distal), 1023 ng/g wing (proximal), 1641 ng/g wing (blade), and 1487 ng/g wing (sheath). Values of Pb and Hg were significantly higher in the distal portion compared to the proximal portion, but no differences were found for Cd and Se. Concentrations of Pb and Cd were significantly higher in the sheath compared to the whole feather blade, and concentrations of Hg were significantly lower.

10.

Metal concentrations were measured in common tern feathers grown in wintering grounds and those regrown on breeding grounds on Cedar Beach, Long Island, and Bird Island, Massachusetts in 1991 (Burger et al., 1992). At Cedar Beach, metal concentrations in initial (wintering grounds) and regrown (breeding grounds) feathers were as follows (ng/g dry weight): 3600 and 3600 Pb, 150 and 120 Cd, 5000 and 8300 Hg, and 2900 and 2100 Se. At Bird Island, concentrations were: 1500 and 100 Pb, 120 and 420 Cd, 1800 and 11,800 Hg, and 1100 and 200 Se. A significant increase in Hg was found in feathers grown at the breeding grounds.

11.

Mercury was determined in breast feathers of common tern nestlings from the New York Bight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1997). Mean concentrations were approximately 2.5 mg/g dry weight in samples collected in 1991 from Cedar Beach, New York, and 4.5 mg/g in 1994 from Pettit, New Jersey.

IV.

Petroleum

1.

From 1973-1976, nesting common terns at Great Gull Island located off the eastern end of Long Island were evaluated for evidence of oiling (Duffy, 1977). Incidences of oiling were 0.74% in 1973, 1.60% in 1974, 0.75% in 1975 and 0.85% in 1976. The higher incidence in 1974 was attributed to a winter oil spill, the majority of which was washed away prior to the 1974 breeding season.

2.

Oiling of common terns nesting on Long Island=s south shore barrier beaches (Cedar Beach and West End Beach) was evaluated from 1969-1978 (Gochfeld, 1979). The objective of this evaluation was to provide baseline data in the event of any future spills from anticipated drilling in the area. During the period of 1969-1978, 0.12% of the birds observed at West End Beach were found to be oiled. On Cedar Beach (1970 to 1978) only 0.09% of the birds observed were oiled. Results of trapping birds from West End Beach from 1969 to 1978 revealed that 0.63% examined were oiled whereas 1.09% of the birds trapped on Cedar Beach were found to be oiled. The difference in incidences by observation and by close examination was attributed to the difficulty in recognition of very low or mild oiling by observation from some distance.

3.

Several common terns wintering in Trinidad in 1982 were observed with oil-stained plumage (Blokpoel et al., 1984). Two of the terns were heavily oiled and it was not believed that they would survive. Five oiled terns from which bands were collected had migrated from New York, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

4.

In 1985, 78 common and roseate terns wintering in Trinidad, a major oil producing and refining country, were examined for external oil discoloration on 10 areas of the body (Erwin et al., 1986). Oil was present on 39 of the birds, 11 of which were considered to have "moderate" oiling. Body weight and hematological parameters were similar between oiled and unoiled birds. 

Common Tern Contaminant Response Data

I.

Organochlorine Contaminants

A.

Eggshell Thinning and Reproduction

1.

Ten common tern eggs from separate nests were collected in 1981 from each of four nesting colonies in the three lower Great Lakes (Weseloh et al., 1989). Mean eggshell thickness was 0.203, 0.188, 0.194, and 0.213 mm at the four sites. No statistically significant correlations were found with PCB and DDE.

2.

DDE concentrations in five eggs that failed to hatch in Massachusetts in 1975 ranged from 1.8 to 4.6 mg/g wet weight (Nisbet and Reynolds, 1984). These concentrations overlapped with those reported to reduce hatchability. Since 1971, DDE values in common tern eggs in Massachusetts were generally <3 mg/g and associated with 93-97% hatching success. The effects of DDE on common tern eggs in the period studied were qualified as marginal only, as concentrations continued to decline since the reduction of DDT in the 1960's.

3.

Eggshell thickness in samples from the New York Bight increased by 3.4% from 1970 to 1980 and by 44% from 1980 to 1990 (Burger et al., 1995).

4.

In 1972, shell thickness of common tern eggs collected from Buffalo Lake in Alberta, Canada, were found to be 3.8% thinner than shells from eggs collected before 1945 (Fox, 1976).

5.

In 1980 a significant negative correlation was found between PCB concentrations and the thickness of tern eggs collected from Rhode Island to North Carolina (Custer et al., 1983). No correlation was found between DDE and shell thickness.

B.

Biochemical and Morphological Responses

1.

From 1969-1970, the occurrence of dropped or missing primary, secondary, and tail feathers, and abnormalities such as crossed bill, splayed legs, and underdeveloped mandible, legs and feet was reported in tern embryos and nestlings from Great Gull Island (Hays and Risebrough, 1972). The overall incidence of abnormalities was 0.04% in 1969 and 1.5% in 1970. Related values of DDE, PCBs, and Hg were determined and are detailed above. Communications from other researchers during the same time period also recounted occurrences of anomalies in feather development in such diverse locations as the south shore of Long Island, Yarmouth Beach on Cape Cod, and Ram Island, Massachusetts. Contaminants potentially responsible for these adverse effects include DDE, PCBs, PCDFs, PCDDs, and Hg.

2.

In the lower Great Lakes between 1971 and 1973, the incidence of abnormalities in common tern chicks was <1% (Gilbertson et al., 1976).

3.

Fifteen common tern eggs collected in 1991 from seven colonies in the Netherlands and one colony in Belgium were artificially incubated and sacrificed upon hatching (Murk et al., 1994). Plasma vitamin A2 levels were negatively correlated with yolk sac TEQs and hepatic EROD activity. There was no correlation found between levels of plasma thyroid hormones, plasma retinols, or UDG-glucuronyltransferase and mean polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations.

4.

Fifteen male and 15 female pipped common tern eggs were collected from Bird Island, Massachusetts in 1993 (Nisbet et al., 1996). Histopathological evidence of feminization was found in 11/15 male embryos. Based on the extent of ovarian-like cortex, 4 cases were classified as severe, 2 as moderate, and five as slight. In these 11 embryos the number of primordial germ cells per 10 sections ranged from 1 to 177 with a median of 17. Though none of the contaminants detected in the male embryos were significantly correlated with the number of PCGs observed in the gonads, PCB congener 29 had the highest correlation of those studied.

5.

Common tern embryos were collected from two Massachusetts colonies, Bird Island, Buzzards Bay, and Nauset, Cape Cod, in the summer of 1994 (Hart, 1998).  Pipping embryos were sampled twice at Bird Island (early in the breeding season, N=31, and late in the breeding season, N=27) and once at Nauset (N=30).  Slight edema was observed in one embryo, and crossed bills in two.  Hepatic EROD activity was significantly greater at Bird Island (19.6 pmol/min/mg early, 21.8 pmol/min/mg late) than at Nauset (11.1 pmol/min/mg).  Mean PROD activity ranged from 2.1-2.9 pmol/min/mg.  Feminization of males (as evidenced by appearance of ovotestes) was observed in 89%, 71%, and 60% of males analyzed at Bird Island early, Bird Island late, and Nauset, respectively.  No significant relationships were found between contaminant levels in embryos and the occurrence of ovotestes.  However, data suggested thresholds of 100 g/g lipid weight total PCBs and 30 ng/g TCDD-EQs above which ovotestes are more likely to form in embryos.  Examination of male prefledglings (N=19) and adults (N=9) revealed no feminization of the gonads, indicating that ovotestes observed in embryos do not persist after 3 weeks posthatch

6.

In 1997, eggs were collected from Ram Island, Buzzards Bay, MA and reference site, Bodkin Island, Chesapeake Bay, MD (French et al., 2000).  Hormones were measured in yolk.  Organochlorines were measured in egg contents, minus the yolk sample taken for hormone testing.  PCB concentrations (Aroclor 1254) ranged from 2.5-70 ppm in lipid.  Androstenedione (A4) concentrations in yolk differed significantly between sites but not among laying orders; median A4 from Bodkin ranged from 180-380 pg/mg yolk, and Ram ranged from 230-575 pg/mg yolk.  Estradiol was below the detection limit in 41/60 eggs, in eggs with measurable estradiol, mean for Bodkin was 0.51 pg/mg yolk, and for Ram it was 0.34 pg/mg yolk.  Dihhydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations ranged from 1.0-15.5 pg/mg yolk, and median concentrations ranged from 2.5-5.5.  Testosterone concentrations ranged from 0.25-40 pg/mg yolk, and median concentrations ranged from 5-12.5 pg/g yolk.  For A4, DHT, and testosterone, concentrations were lower in 1st eggs and not different between 2nd and 3rd eggs.

II.

Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticides

 

No response data available

III.

Trace Elements, Metals and Metalloids

1.

Common terns experiencing abnormal feather loss on Long Island in the early 1970s had significantly higher concentrations of Hg than those terns considered normal (Gochfeld, 1980).

2.

In 1981 in Rhode Island, reproductive success of a tern colony exposed to high levels of heavy metal contamination (Providence Barge) was compared to that of a colony with less contaminant exposure (Wickford Tower) (Custer et al., 1986). Nest success was similar for both colonies, averaging about 75%. Mean average growth rate of nestlings was greater in Providence. No significant difference occurred in hematocrit, ALAD, hemoglobin, plasma cholinesterase, or alanine aminotransferase between nestlings in the two colonies, however, young from the Providence colony had higher aspartate aminotransferase activity and uric acid concentration. Iron was the only metal found in greater concentrations in Providence nestling livers.

3.

Common tern chicks, one chick from each of eight pairs obtained from salt marsh colonies in New Jersey, received single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of 0.2 mg Pb/g at 5 days of age, while the second bird of each pair, as controls, received a single IP dose of sterile saline (Burger and Gochfeld, 1985). Behavioral tests for locomotion, balance, righting ability, depth perception, thermo-regulation, "begging", food manipulation, and learning were evaluated at preset day intervals post-dosing. Body weights were recorded but not tabulated. Weight gain was lower in the Pb-treated chicks and by day 25 mean weight of controls was significantly greater by approximately 17g. In addition, Pb-treated chicks showed transient declines in vigor, droopy posture, and poor "begging activity" about 1-week post-injection. For most behavioral measures , except "begging" and movement on an inclined plane, the Pb-treated birds performed worse than the controls. When presented with a novel feeding situation (reversal of fish position), the Pb-injected chicks required significantly more time to consume the same number of fish. The authors concluded that the single injection of Pb affected a variety of behavioral patterns, sometimes transient, with first effects apparent within 5 days after injection. The maximum tolerated dose was reported to be 0.80 mg/g.

4.

The response of tern chicks to Pb was studied by injecting 5 day old chicks with 0.2 mg/g injection of Pb in a 50 mg/ml Pb nitrate solution (Gochfeld and Burger, 1988). The Pb-injected birds were compared to control birds which received injections of saline. The Pb group weighed less than the control group with the difference most noticeable after 12 days. Since no difference was seen in the amount of fish eaten between the two groups, the most likely cause of this weight decrease was considered to be in the utilization of the fish consumed. By Day 11 and 12, the Pb-treated birds swallowed slower than did the controls while the control group showed an increasing ability to manipulate the fish during feeding that increased with age. No such increase in ability was seen in the Pb-treated group.

5.

Common tern chicks, three days of age, received a single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Pb as a Pb nitrate solution at levels of 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.8, or 1.0 mg Pb/g. equivalent to 200, 300, 400, 800, or 1000 mg Pb/kg of body weight (Burger and Gochfeld, 1988a); weight matched controls received a similar volume of sterile saline. At seven days of age, chicks selected for a second dose received an IP injection of a single dose of Pb in Pb nitrate solution at dose levels of 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, or 0.6 mg/g equivalent to 200, 300, 400, or 600 mg Pb/kg. Behavioral tests two days after each injection included visual cliff performance, locomotion, and righting response. Behavioral differences were evident at all dose levels and were dose dependent. The initial dose affected behavior more than the second dose although birds receiving the second dose were more likely to have received a lethal dose of Pb. The single dose LD50 value of Pb in the nitrate solution was reported to be 1.0 mg/g (1000 mg/kg) with 100% mortality obtained when birds received a total dose of 1.2 mg/g (1200 mg/kg).

IV.

Petroleum

 

No response data available 

References for Common Tern

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Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 1988a. Lead and behavioral development: Effects of varying dosage and schedule on survival and performance of young common terns (Sterna hirundo). J. Toxicol. Environ. Health 24173-182.

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Burger, J., I.C.T. Nisbet, and M. Gochfeld. 1994b. Heavy metal and selenium levels in feathers of known-aged common terns (Sterna hirundo). Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 26:351-355.

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Custer, T.W., R.M. Erwin, and C. Stafford. 1983. Organochlorine residues on common tern eggs from nine Atlantic Coast colonies. Colon. Waterbirds 6:197-204.

Custer, T.W., C.M. Bunck, and C.J. Stafford. 1985. Organochlorine concentrations in prefledging common terns at three Rhode Island colonies. Colon. Waterbirds 8:150-154.

Custer, T. W., J. C. Franson, J. F. Moore, and J. E. Myers. 1986. Reproductive success and heavy metal contamination in Rhode Island common terns. Environ. Pollut. Series A 41:33-52.

Duffy, D.C. 1977. Incidence of oil contamination on breeding common terns. Bird-Banding. 48: 370-371.

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Erwin, R.M., G.J. Smith, and R.B. Clapp. 1986. Winter distribution and oiling of common terns in Trinidad: A further look. J. Field Ornithol. 57:300-308.

Feyk, L.A., J.P. Giesy, A.T.C. Bosveld, M. van den Berg.  2000.  Changes in cytochrome P4501A activity during development in common tern chicks fed polychlorinated biphenyls, as measured by the caffeine breath test.  Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19:712-718. 

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Gilbertson, M. 1974. Seasonal changes in organochlorine compounds and mercury in common terns of Hamilton Harbour, Ontario. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 12:726-732.

Gilbertson, M. and L.M. Reynolds. 1972. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the eggs of common terns in Hamilton Harbour, Ontario. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 7:371-373.

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Return to Introduction--BIOLOGICAL AND ECOTOXICOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF TERRESTRIAL VERTEBRATE SPECIES RESIDING IN ESTUARIES