Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 175-182

First online:

Declines in organochlorines in eggs of red-breasted mergansers from Lake Michigan, 1977–1978 versus 1990

  • Gary H. HeinzAffiliated withPatuxent Environmental Science Center, U.S. National Biological Survey
  • , David S. MillerAffiliated with
  • , Brian J. EbertAffiliated withLaidlaw Environmental Services (GS), Inc.
  • , Kenneth L. StromborgAffiliated withU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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From 1977–1978 to 1990, concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and most organochlorine pesticides declined in eggs of red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator) nesting on islands in northwestern Lake Michigan. Total PCBs decreased 60% (from 21 ppm in 1977–1978 to 8.5 ppm in 1990) and p,p′-DDE decreased 66% (from 6.5 to 2.2 ppm). Dieldrin decreased only 16% (from 0.82 to 0.69 ppm). In 1990, 79.1% of incubated eggs hatched, which was not significantly different from the 83.5% that hatched in 1977–1978.