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Ecotoxicology. 2011 Jan;20(1):29-38. doi: 10.1007/s10646-010-0553-5. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Incidence of organochlorine pesticides and the health condition of nestling ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) at Laguna San Ignacio, a pristine area of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, S.C., Environmental Planning and Conservation Program, Mar Bermejo No. 195, Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita, Apdo, Postal 128, La Paz, BCS. 23090, México.


We identified and quantified organochlorine (OC) pesticide residues in the plasma of 28 osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings from a dense population in Laguna San Ignacio, a pristine area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, during the 2001 breeding season. Sixteen OC pesticides were identified and quantified. α-, β-, δ- and γ-hexachlorocyclohexane, heptaclor, heptachlor epoxide, endosulfan I and II, endosulfan-sulfate, p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDD, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, endrin aldehyde, and endrin ketone were the OCs found in the plasma of nestlings, ranging from 0.002 to 6.856 pg/μl (parts per billion). No differences were found in the concentration of pesticides between genders (P > 0.05). In our work, the concentrations detected in the plasma were lower than those reported to be a threat for the species and that affect the survival and reproduction of birds. The presence of OC pesticides in the remote Laguna San Ignacio osprey population is an indication of the ubiquitous nature of these contaminants. OCs are apparently able to travel long distances from their source to the study area. A significant relationship between hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentrations and OC concentrations were found suggesting that a potential effect on the health of chicks may exist in this osprey population caused by the OC, e.g. anemia. The total proteins were positively correlated with α-BHC, endosulfan I, and p,p'-DDD. It has been suggested that OC also affects competitive interactions and population status over the long term in vertebrate species, and our results could be used as reference information for comparison with other more exposed osprey populations.

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