U.S. Geological Survey Home Page USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Science Meetings; dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Dedicated to Chan Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Poster Abstracts from USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Science Meetings, October, 2006
Patuxent Science Meeting 2006 Poster Abstract

The effect of varying protein levels on blood chemistry, food

consumption, and behavior of captive sea ducks

Berlin AM, Perry MC, Olsen GH

The Chesapeake Bay is a primary wintering area for scoters and the Long-tailed ducks that

migrate along the Eastern flyway. Recently, the Chesapeake Bay had undergone an

ecosystem shift and little is known about how this is affecting the seaduck populations. We

have established a captive colony of surf and white-winged scoters as well as long-tailed ducks

at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to allow us to examine the effect of varying protein levels

in the diet on blood chemistry, food consumption, and behavior. The study entailed feeding

groups of each species (4 ducks per pen of equal sex ratio, if possible, and 4 pens per species)

three diets varying in percent protein levels from November to February. Each diet was

randomly assigned to each pen and the amount of food consumed was recorded each day.

New feed was given when all existing food was consumed. Behavioral trials and blood profiles

were completed on all study birds to determine the effects of the varying diets. There were no

significant differences in food consumption, blood chemistry, and behavior detected at the 5%

level among the diets for all three species of interest. There was a seasonal effect determined

based on the food consumption data for white-winged scoters but not for surf scoters or long-

tailed ducks. The blood profiles of the surf scoters were compared to blood profiles of wild surf

scoters and a there was a significant difference for lymphocytes, glucose, Ast, phosphorus,

sodium, potassium, chloride, CPK, and uric acid. There was also a significant difference

between white-winged scoters and surf scoters for glucose, cholesterol, CPK, uric acid, and

aspergillus antigen. Apparently percent protein does not significantly affect seaducks in

captivity so we theorize that energy is the key factor that influences the behavior and diet

preference of seaducks. Further research is being conducted on the energy flow for seaducks

that winter in the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday, September 22, 2006

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