Inorganic Elements in Eggs of Two Cavity-Nesting Passerine Species at and around Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Authors: Shannon Marie Gaukler, Charles Dean Hathcock, Jeanne Marie Fair

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to build nuclear weapons, and currently operates as a national research laboratory. As part of an ongoing assessment of site-related ecological risk at LANL, western bluebird (Sialia mexicana) and ash-throated flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) eggs were collected from 1997 to 2012 and analyzed for 18 inorganic elements. Concentrations of many inorganic elements in eggs were below reporting limits. Between species comparisons revealed that western bluebird eggs had higher levels of barium while ash-throated flycatcher eggs had higher levels of mercury. No statistically significant differences were observed in concentrations of inorganic elements in western bluebird eggs collected from the study area (which consists of areas within the current and historic LANL boundary) and from a non-industrial reference site; nor were any statistically significant differences observed between two canyons of interest, known to have received effluents and storm water runoff from LANL facilities, and the non-industrial reference site. Inorganic element levels detected in western bluebirds were typically within the range measured in eggs of other passerine in the published literature. These data suggest that concentrations of inorganic elements in passerine eggs collected from the study area appear to be at levels causing negligible risks to local bird populations.


Journal: Journal of Environmental Protection

DOI: 10.4236/jep.2018.99058 (PDF)
Paper Id: 86644 (metadata)

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