San Francisco Bay Estuary in northern California has a legacy of mercury contamination, which could reduce the health and reproductive success of waterbirds in the estuary. The goal of this study was to use an integrated field and laboratory approach to evaluate the risks of mercury exposure to birds in the estuary. We examined mercury bioaccumulation, and other contaminants of concern, in five waterbird species that depend heavily on San Francisco Bay Estuary for foraging and breeding habitat: American avocets (Recurvirostra americana), black-necked stilts (Himantopus mexicanus), Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri), Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia), and surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata). These species have different foraging habitats and diets that represent three distinct foraging guilds within the estuary’s food web. In this report, we provide an integrated synthesis of the primary findings from this study and results are synthesized from 54 peer-reviewed publications generated to date with other unpublished results.
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