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Pilot assessment of mercury exposure in selected biota from the lowlands of Nicaragua [Evaluacion piloto de exposicion al mercurio en biota selecta de las tierras bajas de NicaraguaAuthor(s): O.P. Lane; W.J. Arendt; M.A. Torrez; J.C. Gamez Castellon
Source: Mesoamericana, 17(1): 19-28.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
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DescriptionMethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin, can damage health of humans and wildlife. In 2012, we collected 73 blood and feather samples from birds among diverse foraging guilds to assess mercury exposure in wetland habitats associated with Lakes Managua and Nicaragua. Blood levels (0.72 parts per million) in a piscivorous Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus from Lake Managua exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommended screening value for fish consumption of 0.3 ppm. Cormorants should be considered as an upper trophic level bioindicator of aquatic Hg toxicity. Of all the wetland invectivorous birds sampled, Northern Jaçana Jacana spinosa had the highest blood mercury concentrations (0.42 ppm) and we consider it as a bioindicator of wetland contaminants. Four of five species exhibiting the highest levels of blood mercury were piscivores and ground foraging invertivores. Several neotropical migrants exceeded feather concentration of >3.0 ppm and are considered at greater risk to reduced reproductive success.
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CitationLane, O.P.; Arendt, W.J.; Torrez, M.A.; Gamez Castellon, J.C. 2013. Pilot assessment of mercury exposure in selected biota from the lowlands of Nicaragua [Evaluacion piloto de exposicion al mercurio en biota selecta de las tierras bajas de Nicaragua. Mesoamericana, 17(1): 19-28.
Keywordsmercury exposure, bioaccumulation, reproductive loss, wetlands, Nicaragua
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