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Birds as indicators of contaminants in the Great Lakes


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Thomas Custer, 2016, Birds as indicators of contaminants in the Great Lakes: Nestling Bioindicators: U.S. Geological Survey data release ,


Contaminant exposure of tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, nesting in the Great Lakes basin was assessed in 2010 to 2014. Tree swallow nestlings were collected from 69 sites which included multiple sites at some of the 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) and at nine non-AOC sites. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) concentrations were measured in nestling stomach contents. Concentrations of PCBs and PBDEs were measured in nestling carcasses. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) were measured in nestling plasma. Pooled dietary concentrations of total PAHs were highest at the Rouge River, MI AOC (1,856 ng/g wet weight) and lowest at White Lake, MI AOC (14 ng/g). Nestling [...]


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Thomas W Custer
Metadata Contact :
Thomas W Custer

Attached Files

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diet_revised.csv 12.44 KB
Original FGDC Metadata

29.66 KB
nestlingcontaminants.csv 55.09 KB
Original FGDC Metadata

24.98 KB


The main objective was to add PAHs and PFCs to the evaluation of contaminant exposure to tree swallows at Great Lakes AOCs. Because sediment PAH and PCB data were available from another study of Great Lakes AOCs (Kimbrough et al. 2014), another objective was to test the relationship between contaminants in sediment and tree swallow diet and nestling carcasses. A final objective was to evaluate the association of PCB and PBDE concentrations in nestling carcasses to concentrations measured in sibling eggs in a companion study.


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  • Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC)

Associated Items



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Nestling Bioindicator files were renamed to nestling contaminants on 11/8/2017 at the request of the originator

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