Article

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 189-198

First online:

Heavy metals and selenium in feathers of three shorebird species from Delaware bay

  • Joanna BurgerAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Rutgers UniversityEnvironmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
  • , Susan SeyboldtAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University
  • , Neil MorgansteinAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University
  • , Kathleen ClarkAffiliated withNJ Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program

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Abstract

Concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury, selenium, chromium and manganese were examined in breast feathers of shorebirds migrating north through Cape May, New Jersey in 1991 and 1992. Although we predicted that metal levels would be positively correlated with weight, this was only true for mercury in red knots (Calidris canutus). Selenium was negatively correlated with weight in red knots. No other significant correlation of metal concentrations with weight were found. Lead and mercury were highest in sanderlings (C. alba). Selenium and manganese were highest in red knots, while chromium and cadmium levels were highest in semipalmated sandpipers (C. pusilus). For 1991, interspecific metals differences were significant for all metals except lead. For semipalmated sandpipers, cadmium and chromium concentrations were significantly higher in 1991 while managese concentrations were significantly higher in 1992.