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Accession Number 5001849

Title Toxicity of biologically incorporated contaminants

Project Description In nature, contaminants are present in or on food and in water in their natural, biologically

incorporated forms. Often they are found in combination with other contaminants and in the

presence of non-contaminant stressors. However, in the laboratory, contaminants are generally

tested for their toxicity by mixing a single chemical into the diet in a chemically purified form.

Some laboratory toxicity testing must be expanded to simulate the more natural ways animals are

exposed in nature. By conducting more realistic laboratory toxicity tests, the results will better

enable resource managers to predict the consequences of wildlife exposure to biologically

incorporated forms of contaminants, combinations of contaminants, and the interactions of

contaminants and non-contaminant stressors. In one study, the combined toxicity of selenium

and mercury was measured in breeding mallards. In another study a technique was developed to

inject methylmercury into the eggs of various species of wild birds in order to compare the

sensitivities of these species.

Keywords biologically incorporated, interactions, mercury, non-contaminant stressors, selenium,

Principal Gary H Heinz, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: gary_heinz@usgs.gov; David J Hoffman,

Investigators USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: david_hoffman@usgs.go;

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