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Wildlife and pollution: 2003-04 Annual Report

Shore, R. F.; Walker, L. A.; Turk, A.; Wienburg, C. L.; Wright, J. A.; Murk, A.; Wanless, S.. 2006 Wildlife and pollution: 2003-04 Annual Report. Peterborough, JNCC, 91pp. (JNCC Report No.391)

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Abstract/Summary

The Wildlife and Pollution contract covers a long-term monitoring programme, the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS), that examines the levels of certain pollutants in selected wildlife species in Britain. The programme was started in the early 1960s, when there were serious concerns over the effects of organochlorine insecticides and organomercury fungicides on various species of birds and mammals. This early work demonstrated the effects of the organochlorines and eventually contributed to the ban on their use in the UK and abroad. The programme has subsequently assessed the success of these bans by measuring whether there has been a decline in the concentrations of organochlorine pesticides in the livers and eggs of predatory and freshwater fish-eating birds. Investigations have also been made into the levels of industrial polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), following their identification as pollutants in 1966. Mercury levels, derived from both agricultural and industrial sources, have also been tracked, although mercury concentrations were not measured in birds collected in 2001. In recent years, investigations have been made into the effects of the newest generation of rodenticides on barn owls Tyto alba. Northern gannet Morus bassanus eggs are also collected approximately biennially from two colonies and, when available, from other sites; eggs were last collected in 2002 This programme is now the longest-running of its kind anywhere in the world and the findings stimulate considerable interest internationally, as well as in Britain. Annual reports give an interim summary of results. This current report presents the results of analyses carried out on material collected in 2003. Every three years these annual results are gathered together into a more substantial report in which they are integrated with previous findings. The last report of this type covered the period up to and including 2000 (Shore et al., 2005a) and is updated here. The present report summarises the long-term trends in all contaminants (except rodenticides, analysed in (Shore et al., 2005b)) that occurred during the monitoring period up to and including the year 2003. Results are published periodically in the scientific literature, and recent key papers are listed in the references to the present report. The Wildlife and Pollution contract was the subject of scientific assessment within JNCC’s rolling programme of peer review in autumn 1993 and was further assessed in 1996. As a result of the last two assessments, some monitoring was curtailed. Most notably, common kestrels Falco tinnunculus are no longer monitored for organochlorines. However, kestrels have been monitored for second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides since 2001. This is because an individual study, carried out as part of the PBMS activities, demonstrated that this species may be particularly vulnerable to exposure to these compounds (Shore et al., 2001b). Carcasses and eggs of predatory bird species (such as peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, common buzzard Buteo buteo, long-eared owl Asio otus, little owl Athene noctua, common kingfisher Alcedo atthis, great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus, and great bittern Botaurus stellaris) which do not form the core part of the PBMS, but are sent to the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) by volunteers, are not analysed chemically. However, post-mortem examinations are carried out the carcasses, relevant information is recorded and the cause of death is determined (and reported back to the volunteer who submitted the carcass). Samples of the egg contents and body organs for these species, and samples for the species that do form part of the core monitoring, are all archived at -20°C as part of CEH’s unique long-term tissue bank, and are often used in specific targeted research studies in subsequent years. Each section within the Wildlife and Pollution contract is summarised below. Each is dependent on the provision of material from amateur naturalists and other interested parties, and it is not always possible to obtain desired material for analysis, especially from remote areas.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals
CEH Sections: _ Ecological Risk
_ Biodiversity & Population Processes
Funders/Sponsors: JNCC
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Health
Date made live: 12 Aug 2008 09:04
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/3390

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