Polychlorinated biphenyls and chlorinated insecticides in plasma of Caspian terns: Relationships with age, productivity, and colony site tenacity in the great lakes
Chlorinated hydrocarbons such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated insecticides have often been detected in Great Lakes fish-eating birds at concentrations that are correlated with greater than expected embryo mortality and reduced reproductive success. Blood from 111 known-age, adult Caspian terns (Sterna caspia) nesting in several regions of the upper Great Lakes was collected in 1990 to examine bioavailability of PCBs, to compare concentrations of PCBs among nesting locations, and to determine relationships between concentrations of PCBs and age, productivity, and colony site tenacity. PCBs, DDE, dieldrin, and trans-nonachlor were detected in all the samples. Concentrations of PCBs were, on average, 10, 100, and 250 times greater than those of DDE, dieldrin, and trans-nonachlor, respectively. Concentrations of PCBs were not correlated with age, and were greater in Caspian terns from Saginaw and Green Bays than in Caspian terns from the North Channel and Georgian Bay. Concentrations of PCBs and DDE were significantly correlated with one-another and their accumulation patterns were the most similar among all the chemicals studied. Patterns of organochlorines as determined by cluster analysis were most similar for the nearest nesting locations. The bioaccumulation of PCBs in Great Lakes Caspian terns appeared to be seasonal and did not vary with adult age. A significant negative correlation was observed between mean concentrations of PCBs by region and percent terns returning to natal region. Those populations which were likely to be affected by PCBs were those nesting in Green Bay and Saginaw Bay.