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Dataset for Reproductive success and contaminant associations in tree swallows (Tachnycineta bicolor) nesting in the U.S. and Binational Great Lakes' Areas of Concern


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Christine M Custer, Thomas W Custer, Matthew A Etterson, Paul M Dummer, Diana Goldberg, and J. Christian Franson, 2018, Dataset for Reproductive success and contaminant associations in tree swallows (Tachnycineta bicolor) nesting in the U.S. and Binational Great Lakes' Areas of Concern, U.S. Geological Survey data release,


During 2010-2014, tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) reproductive success was monitored at 68 sites across all 5 Great Lakes, including 58 sites located within Great Lakes Areas of concern (AOCs) and 10 non-AOCs. Sample eggs were collected from tree swallow clutches and analyzed for contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and furans, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and 34 other organic compounds. Contaminant data were available for 360 of the 1249 clutches monitored. Markov chain multistate modeling was used to assess the importance of 5 ecological and 11 of the dominant contaminants in explaining the pattern of egg and nestling failure rates. Four of 5 ecological variables (female Age, Date within season, Year, [...]


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ReproductiveSuccess.csv 1.33 MB
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The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement [GLWQA] designated Areas of Concern (AOCs) which were geographical areas where significant beneficial use impairment (BUI) has occurred as a result of human activities. Thirty-one AOCs were identified in the United States of which five are shared (Binational) with Canada. Fourteen BUIs were identified in the GLWQA. A BUI relates to a change in the chemical, physical or biological integrity of the Great Lakes System sufficient to cause any of the 14 conditions outlined in Annex 1.a of the GLWQA. Each AOC was assigned a variable number of BUIs. Although each State has unique criteria, the ‘Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems’ BUI uses two basic approaches to assess possible impairment: (1) reproductive data collected in the field and compared to normal reproductive rates in similar, but non-contaminated areas, or (2) a comparison of tissue concentrations to background and known reproductive effect levels from both field and laboratory studies. Providing information for assessing this BUI using approach #1 is the subject of the current paper. Most AOCs list PCBs as the primary contaminant of concern, however, PCDD-Fs are often specifically listed as well. The objective of this study was to quantify whether there was an association between exposure to organic chemicals among Great Lakes basin AOCs and nearby non-AOCs, and reproductive success. Markov chain multistate modeling also allowed for the integration of several ecological variations that are known to affect reproductive success in birds. These results provide critical information identified by land managers and regulators as necessary to assess the ‘Bird or Animal Deformity or Reproductive Problems’ BUI.

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