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Seabird tissue archival and monitoring project: Egg collections and analytical results 1999-2002

January 1, 2003

In 1998, the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division (USGS-BRD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began the Seabird Tissue Archival and Monitoring Project (STAMP) to collect and cryogenically bank tissues from seabirds in Alaska for future retrospective analysis of anthropogenic contaminants. The approach of STAMP was similar to that of the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP). AMMTAP was started in 1987 by NIST and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program sponsored by the Minerals Management Service. Presently sponsored by the USGS-BRD, AMMTAP continues its work as part of a larger national program, the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. AMMTAP developed carefully designed sampling and specimen banking protocols. Since 1987, AMMTAP has collected tissues from marine mammals taken in Alaska Native subsistence hunts and has cryogenically banked these tissues at the NIST National Biomonitoring Specimen Bank (NBSB). Through its own analytical work and working in partnership with other researchers both within and outside Alaska, AMMTAP has helped to develop a substantial database on contaminants in Alaska marine mammals. In contrast, data and information is limited on contaminants in Alaska seabirds, which are similar to marine mammals in that they feed near the top of the food chain and have the potential for accumulating anthropogenic contaminants.

During its early planning stages, STAMP managers identified the seabird egg as the first tissue of choice for study by the project. There is a relatively long history of using bird eggs for environmental monitoring and for investigating the health status of bird populations. Since 1998, protocols for collecting and processing eggs, and cryogenically banking egg samples have been developed by STAMP (see York et al. 2001). Eggs are being collected on an annual basis for several species at nesting colonies throughout Alaska. Aliquots of these egg samples are being analyzed on a regular basis for persistent organic pollutants and mercury. Results of this work have been published in scientific journals (Christopher et al. 2002) and in conference proceedings (Kucklick et al. 2002; Vander Pol et al. 2002a, 2002b).

The intent of this report is to provide an up-to-date description of STAMP. The report contains the most recent egg collection inventory, analytical data, preliminary interpretations based on these data, and a discussion of possible future directions of the project.

Publication Year 2003
Title Seabird tissue archival and monitoring project: Egg collections and analytical results 1999-2002
Authors Stacy S. Vander Pol, Steven J. Christopher, David G. Roseneau, Paul R. Becker, Russel D. Day, John R. Kucklick, Rebecca S. Pugh, Kristin S. Simac, Geoff Weston-York
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Index ID 70187730
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center