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Metals and Metalloids in Feathers of Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) Nesting in Lake Livingston and Richland Creek, Texas, USA


Breast feathers of Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) from two nesting colonies in Lake Livingston (LALIV) and Richland Creek, Texas, were collected during 2014 and were analyzed for metals and metalloids. Mean concentrations of Al, As, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Sb, and Se were not significantly different in breast feathers of cormorants from the two locations or between sexes. However, mean concentrations of Co, Mn, Ni, and V were significantly greater in feathers of cormorants from Richland Creek than in those from LALIV; and Zn concentrations were greater in cormorants from LALIV than in those from Richland Creek (p < 0.05). Overall, except for a few outliers for Pb, concentrations of heavy metals and metalloids in feathers were similar or lower than those reported in other species of cormorants from all over the world and were below levels of concern for lethal or sublethal effects on the species.

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This research was supported by a TAMU-CONACYT grant to M. Mora and a fellowship to C. Sandoval from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program at TAMU. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by M. Mora, C. Sandoval, and R. Taylor. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. This revised version was improved by comments from two reviewers.

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Correspondence to Miguel A. Mora.

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Mora, M.A., Sandoval, C. & Taylor, R. Metals and Metalloids in Feathers of Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) Nesting in Lake Livingston and Richland Creek, Texas, USA. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 107, 406–411 (2021).

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  • Birds
  • Cormorants
  • Metals
  • Trace elements
  • Texas