By Lisa Owens Viani

Birds’ eggs don’t lie. Just as thinning eggshells once revealed how DDT was affecting peregrines and pelicans, the eggs themselves are now telling scientists how long-lived some contaminants are in the Estuary and where they are the most problematic. A report just published by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) summarizes contaminant concentrations in eggs collected between 2002 and 2012 from two fish-eating species high in the Estuary food chain, double-crested cormorants and Foster’s terns. Double-crested cormorants are considered a sentinel species for open water; Forster’s terns for shallow-water habitats on the Estuary’s margins, including wetlands and managed ponds.

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An Eggfull of Estuary

By Lisa Owens Viani

Birds’ eggs don’t lie. Just as thinning eggshells once revealed how DDT was affecting peregrines and pelicans, the eggs themselves are now telling scientists how long-lived some contaminants are in the Estuary and where they are the most problematic. A report just published by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) summarizes contaminant concentrations in eggs collected between 2002 and 2012 from two fish-eating species high in the Estuary food chain, double-crested cormorants and Foster’s terns. Double-crested cormorants are considered a sentinel species for open water; Forster’s terns for shallow-water habitats on the Estuary’s margins, including wetlands and managed ponds.

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