Mercury Concentrations in Migratory Waterfowl Harvested from Southern Nevada Wildlife Management Areas, USA

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Mercury concentrations were determined in 14 species of migratory waterfowl harvested from Southern Nevada Wildlife Management areas during the 2001-2002 hunting season. Common mergansers (2.61 +/- 0.87 ppm liver; 0.22 +/- 0.04 ppm muscle), northern shovelers (3.51 +/- 3.8 ppm liver; 0.16 +/- 0.03 ppm muscle), and bufflehead (2.63 +/- 0.24 ppm liver; 0.91 ppm muscle) had the highest concentrations of mercury in the liver and muscle of the species harvested. The relationships between muscle and liver concentrations were also examined. These data indicate that liver tissue can be used with reasonable confidence (r >.80 for most species) to predict mercury concentrations in muscle, the most commonly consumed portion of waterfowl. The mercury concentrations reported here are some of the highest reported in the scientific literature, and they identify certain species, such as the northern shoveler and common merganser, that have accumulated unusually high concentrations of mercury. Evidence for the use of these three species as possible bioindicators for mercury is also presented.


Anas clypeata; Bufflehead; Bucephala albeola; Common merganser; Food – Toxicology; Indicators (Biology); Mergansers; Mergus merganser; Migratory birds; Nevada; Northern shoveler; Waterfowl – Mercury content


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences | Toxicology


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