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PH07 Making Ecotoxicology Studies Relevant
(PH076) Ecotoxicology and wildlife management: are contaminants affecting wintering Steller's eiders?
Stout, J1, Flint, P2, Miles, K3, Trust, K1, Hollmen, T4, Reeves, M1, 1 US Fish & Wildlife Service, Environmental Contaminants Program, Anchorage, AK, USA2 US Geological Survey (USGS), Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, USA3 USGS, Western Ecological Research Center, Davis, CA, USA4 Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, AK, USA
ABSTRACT- The Alaska breeding population of Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, but the reasons for their drastic decline in numbers and distribution are currently unknown. As a regulatory and resource agency, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is entrusted with the management of Steller's eider, their protection and recovery. However, achieving these management goals requires an adequate understanding of the current and future roles that contaminants may play in the species' survival/mortality. During the breeding season, most Steller's eiders occur far from humans and human development. During the winter months, however, most of the world's Steller's eiders concentrate and feed in the shallow, near-shore marine waters of the Alaska Peninsula and the eastern Aleutian Islands. Coincidentally, many of these wintering areas also include boat harbors, seafood processing plants, industrial activities, old military sites and their associated suite of contaminants. To adequately understand the potential affects of contaminants on wintering Steller's eiders, multiple field and laboratory studies are underway involving basic life history (foraging habits, site use, site fidelity and general health indices); exposure pathways (prey, sediment, water and seafood waste sampling); exposure assessments (P-450 biomarker analysis in wild eiders and surrogate species); and dose-response assessments (P-450 induction of captive eiders and surrogate species). Taken together, the results of these and related studies will assist in determining the role that contaminants may be playing in the current status of this threatened species and will help guide the US Fish & Wildlife Service's management of the species to its successful recovery.
Key words: sea ducks, alaska, threatened species, wildlife management
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