Quantifying trophic transfer of mercury and aroclor 1268 to clapper rails (Rallus longirostris) in a contaminated ecosystem using spatially explicit sampling methods
Cumbee, James Claude
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Mercury and PCB concentrations were determined for sediments, crabs, clapper rail adults and chicks collected from a contaminated salt marsh in Brunswick, Georgia. Home ranges were established for fifteen adult rails. Sediment and crab samples were taken from each individual’s range. The study was designed to accurately quantify the transfer factors of Aroclor 1268 and Hg from the soil to invertebrates and into adult clapper rails. We controlled for potential variability by studying and incorporating information regarding this species life history. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the sediment contamination, spatially explicit data collection was used to integrate the amount of contamination in the sediment matrix and the food items with the foraging range of the rails. Trophic transfer of mercury and PCBs were estimated for each sample type. Concentrations of these contaminants were shown to increase with each trophic level.