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Organochlorine chemicals in tree swallows nesting in pool 15 of the Upper Mississippi River

Custer, C. M., Custer, T. W., and Coffey, M., 2000, Organochlorine chemicals in tree swallows nesting in pool 15 of the Upper Mississippi River: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, v. 64, no. 3, p. 341-346.


Navigation Pool 15 of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) has been polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Woodward-Clyde 1996). These PCBs have been bioaccumulated by benthic aquatic insects (Steingraeber et a1. 1994) and fish (Woodward-Clyde 1997). Although contamination levels have decreased over the past decade in fish (Woodward-Clyde 1997), it is unknown whether organochlorine chemical concentrations in avian species may still be of concen. Swallows, especially tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) are now widely used as indicators of local aquatic contamination (Ankley et a1. 1993, Bishop et a1. 1995, 1999, Custer et a1. 1998, DeWeese et a1. 1985, Nichols et a1. 1995, Secord et a1. 1999, Shaw 1983). Tree swallows will readily use nest boxes, so study sites can be established at specific locations of interest. They also feed near their nest box (± 400 m, Quinney and Ankney 1985) on emerging aquatic insects of several taxa (Blancher and McNicol 1991). Therefore, residues in tree swallow tissues reflect localized sediment contamination for bioavailable chemicals (Fairchild et a1. 1992). The objective of this study was to determine whether organochlorine compounds in tree swallow eggs and nestlings were higher near the historic source of PCB contamination in Pool 15 as compared to sites above and below that location.


Polychlorinated-biphenyls, Tachycineta bicolor, Fox River, Green-bay, accumulation, Wisconsin, sediments, USA

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