Contaminants in Wintering Canvasbacks and Scaups from San Francisco Bay, California
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Organochlorines, metals, and trace elements were measured in liver, kidney, or whole-body tissues of canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria), lesser scaups (A. affinis), and greater scaups (A. marila) collected from San Francisco Bay and three coastal areas of California during the winter of 1986–1987. Potentially toxic concentrations of mercury (mean ≤10.4 µg/g, dry weight) and selenium (mean ≤32.7 µg/g, dry weight) were found in livers of scaups and canvasbacks from several San Francisco Bay sites. These elements varied spatially, temporally, and between species, with the highest concentrations found in late winter. Mean concentrations of mercury, selenium, and cadmium were generally higher in scaups than in canvasbacks. Of all the organochlorines included in the analyses, only p,p'-DDE and total PCBs were detected in all samples in this study. Mean whole-body concentrations of DDE and PCBs from San Francisco Bay ducks collected in late winter varied spatially and between species, but the concentrations were not considered toxic. Causes for inter-specific differences are unclear, but may be attributable to differences in diet, movement, or physiology.
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