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Ficedula hypoleuca hemoglobin levels in lead contaminated areas.: Is bird health affected by invertebrate community composition and abundance?
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Mining is a widespread industrial activity that in many cases, via mining wastes, leads to altered concentrations of metals in close vicinity to the mining activities. Metals in mining waste can have high toxicity and may persist in environments for long time periods. The presence of metals, such as lead (Pb), is known to contaminate and cause damage to nearby organisms and ecosystems. Birds are at risk of metal contamination and, since they are predators high up in the food chain, may face accumulation of metal in tissue over time, via consumption of contaminated prey. Small passerine species, such as the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), are suitable for studying metal contamination as they are ubiqutious, and high up in the food chain. Pied flycatchers feed exclusively on invertebrates, making the abundance, quality, and potential contamination of invertebrates interesting to study with regard to the health of the birds. Studies have shown that hemoglobin (Hb) levels in young pied flycatchers are reduced by high background levels of Pb.  This may be linked to prey availability and quality, as invertebrates are known to alter their composition, and contain higher Pb concentrations in Pb contaminated areas. Here, I investigated how invertebrate abundance and community composition, and pied flycatcher Hb concentrations (i.e. health), in reference and Pb contaminated areas, were related to each other. Invertebrate traps were set and sampled twice during the summer of 2018 to provide invertebrate data to the study. Bird Hb levels was acquired by taking blood samples from nearly fledged chicks in birdhouses placed in the different areas. I found a potential trend towards higher Hb levels in reference areas (p=0.110), suggesting that bird health is reduced by the presence of Pb, but this could not be explained by differences in invertebrate community composition or abundance (p>0.05). Hence, based on this study, high Pb concentrations in the soil does not directly, or indirectly via potential impacts on the prey community composition, influence the health of pied flycatchers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 10
Keywords [en]
Metal contamination, pied flycatcher, hemoglobin, invertebrate abundance, invertebrate composition
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152600OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152600DiVA, id: diva2:1255951
Educational program
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earthscience
Presentation
2018-08-31, 14:57 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-11-28 Created: 2018-10-15 Last updated: 2018-11-28Bibliographically approved

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