Risk to breeding success of fish-eating Ardeids due to persistent organic contaminants in Hong Kong: evidence from organochlorine compounds in eggs
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Eggs of two Ardeid species, the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and the Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), were collected from two egretries located in the New Territories of Hong Kong with one located near the internationally acclaimed wetland reserve, the Mai Po Marshes, and the other in a remote site (AChau). The eggs were analysed for organochlorine (OC) compounds including the DDTs, PCBs, hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and the chlordanes (CHLs). All of the OCs under investigation were detected in the eggs of both species with significantly higher levels in the Little Egret (DDTs, 560-2200; PCBs, 270-1700; CHLs, 81-470 ng g-1 wet weight) than the Night Heron (DDTs, 210-1200; PCBs, 85-600; CHLs 59-75 ng g 1 wet weight). The DDTs consisted mainly of DDE with levels ranging from 85% to 95% of the total. The HCHs were at about the same levels in both species (8.4-30 ng g 1 wet weight). All of the OCs had linear concentration probability distributions on a log-normal basis which were used to evaluate exposure associated with these compounds as part of a probabilistic risk analysis. Alinear dose/response relationship for the percentage reduction in the survival of young associated with DDE in eggs was developed. This probabilistic relationship was used to establish the threshold level (1000 ng g 1 wet weight) at which there was a significant level of reduction in the survival of young above zero and the variability in DDE concentrations at this effect level. Using a threshold level of 1000 ng g 1, the calculated Risk Quotient (RQ) had a 12.4% probability of RQ exceeding unity with the Night Heron, and 40.9% with the Little Egret. These results indicate that the DDTs in eggs would be expected to be associated with adverse effects on the survival of young of both species, particularly the Little Egret.
Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified