Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 275–315 | Cite as

Biomagnification Factors (Fish to Osprey Eggs from Willamette River, Oregon, U.S.A.) for PCDDs, PCDFs, PCBs and OC Pesticides

  • Charles J. Henny
  • James L. Kaiser
  • Robert A. Grove
  • V. Raymond Bentley
  • John E. Elliott


A migratory population of 78 pairs of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nesting along the Willamette River in westernOregon was studied in 1993. The study was designed to determinecontaminant concentrations in eggs, contaminant concentrationsin fish species predominant in the Ospreys diet, andBiomagnification Factors (BMFs) of contaminants from fish specieseaten to Osprey eggs. Ten Osprey eggs and 25 composite samplesof fish (3 species) were used to evaluate organochlorine (OC)pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinateddibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans(PCDFs). Mercury was also analyzed in fish. Geometric meanresidues in Osprey eggs were judged low, e.g., DDE 2.3 μg g-1 wet weight (ww), Σ PCBs 0.69 μg g-1, 2,3,7,8-TCDD 2.3 ng kg-1, and generally well below known threshold values for adverse effects on productivity, and the population was increasing. Osprey egg residue data presentedby River Mile (RM) are discussed, e.g., higher PCDDs were generally found immediately downstream of paper mills and eggsfrom the Willamette River had significantly elevated PCBs and PCDDs compared to reference eggs collected nearby in the CascadeMountains. Prey remains at nest sites indicated that the Largescale Sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus) and NorthernPikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) accounted for an estimated 90.1% of the biomass in the Osprey diet, and composite samples of these two species were collected from different sampling sites throughout the study area for contaminant analyses. With the large percentage of the fishbiomass in the Osprey diet sampled for contaminants (and fisheaten by Ospreys similar in size to those chemically analyzed),and fish contaminant concentrations weighted by biomass intake, a mean BMF was estimated from fish to Osprey eggs for the largeseries of contaminants. BMFs ranged from no biomagnification(0.42) for 2,3,7,8-TCDF to 174 for OCDD. Our findings for themigratory Osprey were compared to BMFs for the resident HerringGull (Larus argentatus), and differences are discussed. Webelieve a BMF approach provides some basic understanding ofrelationships between contaminant burdens in prey species offish-eating birds and contaminants incorporated into their eggs,and may prove useful in understanding sources of contaminants inmigratory species although additional studies are needed.

biomagnification factors DDE fish mercury Oregon Osprey Pandion haliaetus PCBs PCDDs PCDFs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Altman, B., Henson, C. M. and Waite, I. R.: 1997, 'summary of information on aquatic biota and their habitats in the Willamette Basin, Oregon, through 1995', U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resour. Invest. Rept., 97-4023, Portland, OR 174 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, D. W. and Hickey, J. J.: 1976, 'Dynamics and storage of organochlorines in Herring Gulls', Environ. Pollut. 10, 183-200.Google Scholar
  3. Ballschmiter, K. and Zell, M.: 1980, 'Analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) by glass capillary gas chromatography. Composition of technical Aroclor-and Clophen-PCB mixtures', Fres. Z. Anal. Chem. 302, 20-31.Google Scholar
  4. Blus, L. J., Neely Jr., B. S., Lamont, T. G. and Mulhern, B.: 1977, 'Residues of organochlorines and heavy metals in tissues and eggs of Brown Pelicans, 1969-1973', Pestic. Monit. J. 11, 40-53.Google Scholar
  5. Bonn, B. A.: 1998, 'Dioxins and Furans in Bed Sediment and Fish Tissue of the Willamette Basin, Oregon, 1992-1995', U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resour. Invest. Rept. 97-4082-D.Google Scholar
  6. Bonn, B. A., Hinkle, S. R., Wentz, D. A. and Uhrich, M. A.: 1995, 'Analysis of Nutrient and Ancillary Water-quality Data for Surface and Ground Water of the Willamette Basin, Oregon, 1980-1990', U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resour. Invest. Rept. 95-4036, 88 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Braune, B. M. and Norstrom, R. J.: 1989, 'Dynamics of organochlorine compounds in Herring Gulls: III. Tissue distribution and bioaccumulation in Lake Ontario gulls', Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 8, 957-968.Google Scholar
  8. Buhler, D. R., Rasmusson, M. F. and Nakaue, H. S.: 1973, 'Occurrence of hexachlorophene and pentachlorophenol in sewage and water', Environ. Sci. Tech. 7, 929-934.Google Scholar
  9. Center for Population Research and Census: 1992, Population Estimates for Oregon 1980-1981, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 22 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, T. P., Norstrom, R. J., Fox, G. A. and Won, H. T.: 1987, 'Dynamics of organochlorine compounds in Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus). II. A two-compartment model and data for ten compounds', Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 6, 547-559.Google Scholar
  11. Curtis, L. R., Carpenter, H. M., Donohoe, R. M., Williams, D. E., Hedstrom, O. R., Deinzer, M. L., Beilstein, M. A., Foster, E. and Gates, R.: 1993, 'Sensitivity of cytochrome P450-1A1 induction in fish as a biomarker for distribution of TCDD and TCDF in the Willamette River, Oregon', Environ. Sci. Tech. 27, 2149-2157.Google Scholar
  12. Dauble, D. D.: 1986, 'Life history and ecology of the Largescale Sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus) in the Columbia River', Amer. Midl. Nat. 116, 356-367.Google Scholar
  13. Dimick, R. D. and Merryfield, F.: 1945, 'The fishes of the Willamette River system in relation to pollution', Engin. Expt. Sta. Bull. Ser. 20, 7-55 (Oregon State College, Corvallis, OR).Google Scholar
  14. Elliott, J. E., Machmer, M. M., Henny, C. J., Wilson, L. K. and Norstrom, R. J.: 1998, 'Contaminants in Ospreys from the Pacific Northwest: I. Trends and patterns in polychlorinated dibenzo-pdioxins and dibenzofurans in eggs and plasma', Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 35, 620-631.Google Scholar
  15. Elliott, J. E., Machmer, M. M., Wilson, L. K. and Henny, C. J.: 2000, 'Contaminants in Ospreys from the Pacific Northwest: II. Organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury, 1991-1997', Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 38, 93-106.Google Scholar
  16. Elliott, J. E., Wilson, L. K., Henny, C. J., Trudeau, S. F., Leighton, F. A., Kennedy, S.W. and Cheng, K. M.: 2001, 'Assessment of biological effects of chlorinated hydrocarbons in Osprey chicks', Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 20, 866-879.Google Scholar
  17. Ewins, P. J., Postupalsky, S., Hughes, K. D. and Weseloh, D. V.: 1999, 'Organochlorine contaminant residues and shell thickness of eggs from known-age female Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) in Michigan during the 1980s', Environ. Pollut. 104, 295-304.Google Scholar
  18. Gabrielson, I. N. and Jewett, S. G.: 1940, The Birds of Oregon, Oregon State College Press, Corvallis, 650 pp.Google Scholar
  19. GLIER: 1995, Methods and Procedures Quality Manual, 1st ed., O Revision. Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (July 1995).Google Scholar
  20. Gonthier, J. B.: 1985, 'Oregon Ground-water Resources', in U.S. Geological Survey, National Water Summary 1984-Hydrologic Events, Selected Water-quality Trends, and Ground-water Resources, U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Supply Paper 2275. pp. 355-360.Google Scholar
  21. Gregory, S. V.: 1993, 'Willamette River Basin Study-Periphyton Algal Dynamics', Final Report, prepared for Oregon Dept. Environ. Quality, and Dept. Fish and Wildlife. Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, 112 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Henny, C. J. and Kaiser, J. L.: 1996, 'Osprey Population Increase Along the Willamette River, Oregon, and the Role of Utility Structures, 1976-1993', in D. M. Bird, D. E. Varland and J. J. Negro (eds), Raptors in Human Landscapes, Academic Press, Ltd., London, pp. 97-108.Google Scholar
  23. Henny, C. J. and Nelson, M. W.: 1981, 'Decline and present status of breeding Peregrine Falcons in Oregon', Murrelet 62, 43-53.Google Scholar
  24. Henny, C. J., Collins, J. A. and Deibert, W. J.: 1978, 'Osprey distribution, abundance, and status in western North America: II, The Oregon Population', Murrelet 59, 14-25.Google Scholar
  25. Henny, C. J., Maser, C., Whitaker Jr., J. O. and Kaiser, T. E.: 1982, 'Organochlorine residues in bats after a forest spraying with DDT', Northwest Sci. 56, 329-337.Google Scholar
  26. Hines,W. G., McKenzie, S. W., Rickert, D. A. and Rinella, F. A.: 1977, 'Dissolved-oxygen regime of the Willamette River, Oregon, under conditions of basin-wide secondary treatment', U.S. Geol. Surv. Circ. 715-1.Google Scholar
  27. Houghton, L. M. and Rymon, L. M.: 1997, 'Nesting distribution and population status of U.S. Ospreys, 1994', J. Raptor Res. 31, 44-53.Google Scholar
  28. Huff, E. S. and Klingeman, P. C.: 1976, 'Restoring the Willamette River: Costs and impacts of water quality control', J. Water Pollut. Control Fed. 48, 2410-2415.Google Scholar
  29. Hughes, R. M. and Gammon, J. R.: 1987, 'Longitudinal changes in fish assemblages and water quality in the Willamette River, Oregon', Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116, 196-209.Google Scholar
  30. Kammerer, J. C.: 1990, 'Largest Rivers in the United States', U.S. Geol. Surv. Open File Rept., 87-242, 2 pp.Google Scholar
  31. Lazar, R., Edwards, R. C., Metcalfe, C. D., Metcalfe, T., Gobas, F. A. P. C. and Haffner, G. D.: 1992, 'A simple, novel method for the quantitative analysis of coplanar (non-ortho substituted) polychlorinated biphenyls in environmental samples', Chemosphere 25, 493-504.Google Scholar
  32. Li, H. W., Schreck, C. B., Bond, C. E. and Rextad, E.: 1987, 'Factors Influencing Changes in Fish Assemblages of Pacific Northwest Streams', in W. J. Matthews and D. C. Heins (eds), Community and Evolutionary Ecology of North American Stream Fishes, Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman, pp. 193-202.Google Scholar
  33. Lincer, J. L.: 1975, 'DDE-induced eggshell thinning in the American Kestrel: A comparison of the field situation with laboratory results', J. Appl. Ecol. 12, 781-793.Google Scholar
  34. Martell, M. S., Kennedy, M. J., Henny, C. J. and Nye, P. E.: 1998, 'Highway to the Tropics: Using Satellite Telemetry and the Internet to Track Ospreys in the Western Hemisphere', in Y. Leshem. E. Lachman and B. Berthold (eds), Migratory Birds Know no Boundaries: Scientific and Educational Aspects of Migrating Bird Conservation, Tel Aviv, Israel, pp. 163-172.Google Scholar
  35. Martell, M. S., Henny, C. J., Nye, P. E. and Solensky, M. J.: 2001, 'Fall migration routes, timing, and wintering sites of North American Ospreys as determined by satellite telemetry', Condor 103, 715-724.Google Scholar
  36. Martinelli, T. L. and Shively, R. S.: 1997, 'Seasonal distribution, movements and habitat associations of Northern Squawfish in two lower Columbia River reservoirs', Regul. Rivers Res. Manage. 13, 543-556.Google Scholar
  37. McFarland, W. D.: 1983, 'A Description of Aquifer Units in Western Oregon', U.S. Geol. Surv. Open-File Report, 82-165, 35 pp.Google Scholar
  38. Newsome, G. E.: 1977, 'Use of opercular bones to identify and estimate lengths of prey consumed by piscivores', Can. J. Zool. 55, 733-736.Google Scholar
  39. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: 1988, Oregon Environmental Atlas, Portland, Oregon, 64 pp.Google Scholar
  40. Parkhurst, Z. E., Bryant, F. G. and Nielson, R. S.: 1950, 'survey of the Columbia River and its Tributaries, Part 3', U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Science Report-Fisheries, No. 36, 103 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Poole, A. F.: 1989, Ospreys-A Natural and Unnatural History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 246 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Postupalsky, S.: 1977, 'A Critical Review of Problems in Calculating Osprey Reproductive Success', in J. C. Ogden (ed.), Transactions No. American Osprey Research Conf., Trans. and Proc. Series, No. 2, Natl. Park Serv., Washington, D.C., pp. 1-11.Google Scholar
  43. Rickert, D. A., Hines, W. G. and McKenzie, S. W.: 1975, 'Methods and data requirements for river quality assessment', Water Resour. Bull. 11, 1013-1039.Google Scholar
  44. Ryckman, D. P., Weseloh, D. V. and Bishop, C. A.: 1997, Contaminants in Herring Gull Eggs from the Great Lakes: 25 yr of Monitoring Levels and Effects, Great Lakes Fact Sheet, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario.Google Scholar
  45. SAS Institute: 1996, 'SAS User's Guide: Statistics', Version 6. 12 Edition, SAS Inst., Inc, Cary, NC.Google Scholar
  46. Spitzer, P. R.: 1980, 'Dynamics of a Discrete Coastal Breeding Population of Ospreys in the Northeastern United States During the Period of Decline and Recovery, 1969-1978', Ph.D. Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  47. Spitzer, P. R., Poole, A. F. and Scheibel, M.: 1983, 'Initial Recovery of Breeding Ospreys in the Region between New York City and Boston', in D. M. Bird (chief ed.), Biology and Management of Bald Eagles and Ospreys, Harpell Press, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, pp. 231-241.Google Scholar
  48. 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
  49. Swenson, J. E.: 1978, 'Prey and foraging behavior of Ospreys on Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming', J. Wildl. Manage. 42, 87-90.Google Scholar
  50. Tetra Tech.: 1992, Characterization of Willamette River Main-stem Ecoregions-Component 9, Tetra Tech, Inc., Bellevue, WA., 27 pp (prepared for Oregon Dept. Environmental Quality, Portland, OR).Google Scholar
  51. Uhrich, M. A. and Wentz, D. A.: 1999, 'Environmental setting of the Willamette Basin, Oregon', U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resour. Invest. Rept., 97-4082-A.Google Scholar
  52. Van Daele, L. J., Van Daele, H. A. and Johnson, D. R.: 1980, 'The Status and Management of Ospreys Nesting in Long Valley, Idaho', Univ. Idaho, Dept. Biological Sciences, Moscow, ID. 49 pp.Google Scholar
  53. Van den Berg, M., Birnbaum, L., Bosveld, A. T., Brunstrom, B., Cook, P., Feeley, M., Giesy, J. P., Hanberg, A., Hasegawa, R., Kennedy, S. W., Kubiak, T., Larsen, J. C., van Leeuwen, F. X., Liem, A. K., Nolt, C., Peterson, R. E., Poellinger, L., Safe, S., Schrenk, D., Tillitt, D., Tysklind, M., Younes, M., Waern, F. and Zacharewski, T.: 1998, 'Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs for humans and wildlife', Environ. Health Perspect. 106, 775-792.Google Scholar
  54. Wentz, D. A. and McKenzie, S. W.: 1991, 'National Water-Quality Assessment Program-The Willamette Basin, Oregon', U.S. Geol. Surv. Open-File Rept., 91-167, 2 pp.Google Scholar
  55. Wiemeyer, S. N., Bunck, C. M. and Krynitsky, A. J.: 1988, 'Organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and mercury in Osprey eggs-1970-1979-and their relationships to shell thinning and productivity', Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 17, 767-787.Google Scholar
  56. Witt, J. W.: 1990, Productivity and management of Osprey along the Umpqua River, Oregon', Northwestern Nat. 71, 14-19.Google Scholar
  57. Woodford, J. E., Karasov, W. H., Meyer, M. W. and Chambers, L.: 1998, 'Impact of 2,3,7,8-TCDD exposure on survival, growth, and behavior of Ospreys breeding in Wisconsin, U.S.A.', Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 17, 1323-1331.Google Scholar
  58. Wydoski, R. S. and Whitney, R. R.: 1979, Inland Fishes of Washington, Univ. Washington Press, Seattle, 220 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Henny
    • 1
  • James L. Kaiser
    • 1
  • Robert A. Grove
    • 1
  • V. Raymond Bentley
    • 1
  • John E. Elliott
    • 2
  1. 1.USGSForest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science CenterCorvallisU.S.A.
  2. 2.Canadian Wildlife ServicePacific Wildlife Research CentreBritish ColumbiaCanada

Personalised recommendations