Chick Edema Disease and Hepatic Porphyria in Lake Ontario Herring Gull Embryos in the Early 1970s

  • M. Gilbertson
  • G. A. Fox
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 26)


The severity, characteristics, and possible causes of reproductive failure among fish-eating birds on the lower Great Lakes were investigated in the early 1970s. Examination of embryos and chicks from Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) colonies in Lake Ontario and Port Colborne in eastern Lake Erie suggested that a highly embryo- toxic, porphyrinogenic, chick edema-active agent or agents was present in this food chain. Retrospective analysis of stored eggs has revealed the presence of significant quantities of 2,3,7,8-TCDD, as well as DDE, PCBs, mirex, hexachlorobenzene and a number of as yet unidentified contaminants. The relative importance of these contaminants in the observed reproductive failure is discussed.


Great Lake Common Tern Eastern Lake Subcutaneous Edema Herring Gull 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gilbertson
    • 1
  • G. A. Fox
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnvironmentToxic Chemicals Management CentreOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of EnvironmentWildlife Toxicology Division, Canadian Wildlife ServiceOttawaCanada

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