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Old 12-06-2011, 02:12 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Midwest
Default Tree Swallows: A Nationwide Sentinel Species for Assessing and Monitoring Aquatic Contamination

United States GeologicalSurvey
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin
Tree Swallows: A Nationwide Sentinel Species for Assessing and Monitoring Aquatic Contamination
Tree swallows are a useful bird species to measure exposure and effects of environmental contaminants: (1) They are widely distributed throughout the United States, (2) They will nest in boxes, so they can be attracted to study areas, and (3) They feed near their nest box on emergent aquatic insects. Aquatic insects emerge from river sediments, so the swallows’ tissues refl ect levels of contaminants in sediments.
To do this, we analyze swallow eggs and other tissues for contaminants and compare them to uncontaminated locations. If contaminants are elevated in swallows, the next step is to fi nd out if these contaminants affect tree swallow reproduction or survival.
Results from recent contaminant studies using tree swallows include the following:
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.
When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
Aldo Leopold

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aquatic, aquatic insects, assessing, contamination, environment, monitoring, nationwide, pollution, sentinel, species, swallows, tree, tree swallows

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