John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Using bald eagles to track spatial (1999–2008) and temporal (1987–1992, 1999–2003, and 2004–2008) trends of contaminants in Michigan's aquatic ecosystems

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The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is an extensively researched tertiary predator. Studies have delineated information about its life history and the influences of various stressors on its reproduction. Due to the bald eagle's position at the top of the food web, it is susceptible to biomagnification of xenobiotics. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality implemented a program in 1999 to monitor persistent chemicals including polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDE). The objectives of the present study were to evaluate spatial and temporal trends of PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in nestling bald eagles of Michigan. The authors' study found that concentrations of PCBs and DDE were higher in Great Lakes areas with Lakes Michigan and Lake Huron having the highest concentrations of DDE and Lake Erie having the highest concentrations of PCBs. Temporally (1987–1992, 1999–2003, and 2004–2008) the present study found declines in PCB and DDE concentrations with a few exceptions. Continued monitoring of Michigan bald eagle populations is suggested for a couple of reasons. First, nestling blood contaminant levels are an appropriate method to monitor ecosystem contaminant levels. Second, from 1999 to 2008 PCB and DDE concentrations for 29% and 39%, respectively, of the nestling eagles sampled were above the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) for bald eagles. Lastly, with the continued development and deployment of new chemistries a continuous long term monitoring program is an invaluable resource. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;9999:1–8. © 2015 SETAC

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