Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 175–182 | Cite as

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

  • Gary H. Heinz
  • David S. Miller
  • Brian J. Ebert
  • Kenneth L. Stromborg


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Health and Welfare Canada: 1991, ‘Toxic Chemicals in the Great Lakes and Associated Effects. Volume I. Contaminant Levels and Trends’, 488 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Faber, R.A. and Hickey, J.J.: 1973, ‘Eggshell Thinning, Chlorinated Hydrocarbons, and Mercury in Inland Aquatic Bird Eggs, 1969 and 1970’, Pestic. Monit. J. 7, 27–36.Google Scholar
  3. Fox, G.A., Weseloh, D.V., Kubiak, T.J., and Erdman, T.C.: 1991, ‘Reproductive Outcomes in Colonial Fish-Eating Birds: A Biomarker for Developmental Toxicants in Great Lakes Food Chains. I. Historical and Ecotoxicological Perspectives’, J. Great Lakes Res. 17, 153–157.Google Scholar
  4. Haseltine, S.D., Heinz, G.H., Reichel, W.L., and Moore, J.F.: 1981, ‘Organochlorine and Metal Residues in Eggs of Waterfowl Nesting on Islands in Lake Michigan off Door County, Wisconsin, 1977–78’, Pestic. Monit. J. 15, 90–97.Google Scholar
  5. Heinz, G.H., Haseltine, S.D., Reichel, W.L., and Hensler, G.L.: 1983, ‘Relationships of Environmental Contaminants to Reproductive Success in Red-Breasted Mergansers Mergus serrator from Lake Michigan’, Environ. Pollut. 32, 211–232.Google Scholar
  6. Kozie, K.D. and Anderson, R.K.: 1991, ‘Productivity, Diet, and Environmental Contaminants in Bald Eagles Nesting Near the Wisconsin Shoreline of Lake Superior’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 20, 41–48.Google Scholar
  7. Kubiak, T.J., Harris, H.J., Smith, L.M., Schwartz, T.R., Stalling, D.L., Trick, J.A., Sileo, L., Docherty, D.E., and Erdman, T.C.: 1989, ‘Microcontaminants and Reproductive Impairment of the Forster's Tern on Green Bay, Lake Michigan — 1983’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 18, 706–727.Google Scholar
  8. Schmitt, C.J., Zajicek, J.L., and Peterman, P.H.: 1990, ‘National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program: Residues of Organochlorine Chemicals in U.S. Freshwater Fish, 1976–1984’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 19, 748–781.Google Scholar
  9. Stickel, L.F., Wiemeyer, S.N., and Blus, L.J.: 1973, ‘Pesticide Residues in Eggs of Wild Birds: Adjustment for Loss of Moisture and Lipid’, Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 9, 193–196.Google Scholar
  10. Tillitt, D.E., Ankley, G.T., Giesy, J.P., Ludwig, J.P., Kurita-Matsuba, H., Weseloh, D.V., Ross, P.S., Bishop, C.A., Sileo, L., Stromborg, K.L., Larson, J., and Kubiak, T.J.: 1992, ‘Polychlorinated Biphenyl Residues and Egg Mortality in Double-Crested Cormorants from the Great Lakes’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 11, 1281–1288.Google Scholar
  11. Weseloh, D.V., Custer, T.W., and Braune, B.M.: 1989, ‘Organochlorine Contaminants in Eggs of Common Terns from the Canadian Great Lakes, 1981’, Environ. Pollut. 59, 141–161.Google Scholar
  12. White, D.H. and Cromartie, E.: 1977, ‘Residues of Environmental Pollutants and Shell Thinning in Merganser Eggs’, Wilson Bull. 89, 532–542.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary H. Heinz
    • 1
  • David S. Miller
    • 2
  • Brian J. Ebert
    • 3
  • Kenneth L. Stromborg
    • 4
  1. 1.Patuxent Environmental Science CenterU.S. National Biological SurveyLaurelUSA
  2. 2.Allen ParkUSA
  3. 3.Laidlaw Environmental Services (GS), Inc.SaukvilleUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceGreen BayUSA

Personalised recommendations