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      Deriving Field-Based Ecological Risks for Bird Species


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          Ecological risks (ERs) of pollutants are typically assessed using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs), based on effect concentrations obtained from bioassays with unknown representativeness for field conditions. Alternatively, monitoring data relating breeding success in bird populations to egg concentrations may be used. In this study, we developed a procedure to derive SSDs for birds based on field data of egg concentrations and reproductive success. As an example, we derived field-based SSDs for p, p′-DDE and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exposure to birds. These SSDs were used to calculate ERs for these two chemicals in the American Great Lakes and the Arctic. First, we obtained field data of p, p′-DDE and PCBs egg concentrations and reproductive success from the literature. Second, these field data were used to fit exposure-response curves along the upper boundary (right margin) of the response’s distribution (95th quantile), also called quantile regression analysis. The upper boundary is used to account for heterogeneity in reproductive success induced by other external factors. Third, the species-specific EC 10/50s obtained from the field-based exposure-response curves were used to derive SSDs per chemical. Finally, the SSDs were combined with specific exposure data for both compounds in the two areas to calculate the ER. We found that the ERs of combined exposure to these two chemicals were a factor of 5–35 higher in the Great Lakes compared to Arctic regions. Uncertainty in the species-specific exposure-response curves and related SSDs was mainly caused by the limited number of field exposure-response data for bird species. With sufficient monitoring data, our method can be used to quantify field-based ecological risks for other chemicals, species groups, and regions of interest.

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          A gentle introduction to quantile regression for ecologists

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            Reproductive effects in birds exposed to pesticides and industrial chemicals.

            D M Fry (1995)
            Environmental contamination by agricultural chemicals and industrial waste disposal results in adverse effects on reproduction of exposed birds. The diversity of pollutants results in physiological effects at several levels, including direct effects on breeding adults as well as developmental effects on embryos. The effects on embryos include mortality or reduced hatchability, failure of chicks to thrive (wasting syndrome), and teratological effects producing skeletal abnormalities and impaired differentiation of the reproductive and nervous systems through mechanisms of hormonal mimicking of estrogens. The range of chemical effects on adult birds covers acute mortality, sublethal stress, reduced fertility, suppression of egg formation, eggshell thinning, and impaired incubation and chick rearing behaviors. The types of pollutants shown to cause reproductive effects include organochlorine pesticides and industrial pollutants, organophosphate pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and in a fewer number of reports, herbicides, and fungicides. o,p'-DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mixtures of organochlorines have been identified as environmental estrogens affecting populations of gulls breeding in polluted "hot spots" in southern California, the Great Lakes, and Puget Sound. Estrogenic organochlorines represent an important class of toxicants to birds because differentiation of the avian reproductive system is estrogen dependent.
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              Ban of DDT and subsequent recovery of Reproduction in bald eagles.

              Reproduction of bald eagles in northwestern Ontario declined from 1.26 young per breeding area in 1966 to a low of 0.46 in 1974 and then increased to 1.12 in 1981. Residues of DDE in addled eggs showed a significant inverse relation, confirming the effects of this toxicant on bald eagle reproduction at the population level and the effectiveness of the ban on DDT. The recovery from DDE contamination in bald eagles appears to be occurring much more rapidly than predicted.

                Author and article information

                Environ Sci Technol
                Environ. Sci. Technol
                Environmental Science & Technology
                American Chemical Society
                27 February 2018
                20 March 2018
                : 52
                : 6
                : 3716-3726
                []Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Department of Environmental Science, Radboud University , P.O. Box 9010, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                [* ]Phone: +31-(0)24-365 23 93. E-mail: R.Hoondert@ 123456science.ru.nl .
                Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society

                This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No Derivative Works (CC-BY-NC-ND) Attribution License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article, and creation of adaptations, all for non-commercial purposes.

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                General environmental science


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