, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 91-104

Organochlorines and selenium in California night-heron and egret eggs

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Exceptionally high concentrations of DDE were found in black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) (geometric mean 8.62 μg g−1 wet wt.) and great egret (Casmerodius albus) (24.0 μg g−1) eggs collected from the Imperial Valley (Salton Sea), California in 1985. DDE concentrations in 14 of the 87 (16%) randomly selected night-heron eggs from six colonies (two in San Francisco Bay, three in the San Joaquin Valley, and one at Salton Sea) were higher than those associated with reduced reproductive success of night-herons (8 μg g−1). In addition, mean shell thickness of night-heron eggs collected from the San Joaquin Valley and from San Francisco Bay during 1982–1984 was significantly less than pre-DDT thickness and was negatively correlated (r=−0.50, n=75, P<0.0001) with DDE concentration. Mean selenium concentration in night-heron eggs from Salton Sea (1.10 μg g−1) was significantly higher than in eggs from three locations in the San Joaquin Valley, and in egret eggs from Salton Sea.