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San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Contaminants and Breeding Success in Terns on South San Francisco Bay

Organization: San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
2001, 2002 & 2003 Grant Recipient - Alameda, Napa, and Santa Clara counties

Purpose

The purpose of this collaboration between the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biomonitoring and Investigations Branch, Environmental Contaminants Division was to obtain baseline data on levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in Forster’s and Caspian tern eggs, and to relate contaminant levels to the birds’ prey base, foraging patterns, breeding success, and population trajectory in San Francisco Bay. Exposure to these contaminants occurs through the aquatic foodwebs. As top predators in the estuarine ecosystem, terns and their eggs are excellent monitoring tools for assessing levels of bioaccumulative contaminants.

2012 Update

The work of this project has continued on from these initial studies, and is currently lead by USGS’s Josh Ackerman at the USGS Davis Field Station. (Jackerman@usgs.gov). Dr. Ackerman is a Principal Investigator and Research Wildlife Biologist at the US Geological Survey. In particular, mercury monitoring is an important component of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

NRPI Database Entry
http://www.ice.ucdavis.edu/nrpi/NRPIDescription.asp?ProjectPK=394
Janet Hanson also contributed to this project which is detailed in the above link.

Documents

Primary Contact for the Project
Jill Demers
Executive Director
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
Phone: (408) 946-6548
E-mail: jdemers@sfbbo.org

Primary Contact for the Project
Cheryl Strong
Wildlife Biologist
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Phone: 510-557-1271
E-mail: Cheryl_Strong@fws.gov

Quick Links

Project Photos

US Fish & Wildlife Services Biologist Terry Adelsbach and San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Outreach Coordinator Bryan Dias, make their way to monitor a Caspian tern island colony found in an East Bay salt pond.

US Fish & Wildlife Services Biologist Terry Adelsbach and San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Outreach Coordinator Bryan Dias, make their way to monitor a Caspian tern island colony found in an East Bay salt pond.

Caspian terns flush from their nest in response to the Kayak Crew team’s arrival. The team member’s work quickly to gather the necessary information and leave, allowing the adult terns to return promptly to their nests.

Caspian terns flush from their nest in response to the Kayak Crew team’s arrival. The team member’s work quickly to gather the necessary information and leave, allowing the adult terns to return promptly to their nests.

SFBBO volunteer Phil Gordon and the other team members flag nests in order to track individual hatching
success.

SFBBO volunteer Phil Gordon and the other team members flag nests in order to track individual hatching success.

A Forster’s tern nest reveals one chick only a few days old, one freshly hatched chick, and one eggwaiting to join the family!

A Forster’s tern nest reveals one chick only a few days old, one freshly hatched chick, and one egg waiting to join the family!

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Biologist Carley Schacter admires a newly hatched 1-day old Forster’s Tern chick. Photo by Michael Kern.

A 1-day old Forster’s Tern chick perches on the edge of its nest. Tern chicks are semi-precocial, meaning that they can walk and swim soon after hatching, but depend on their parents to feed them small fish. Photo by Michael Kern.

A Forster’s Tern chick emerges from the egg. Within an hour, this chick’s down will dry and become fluffy. Its sibling will likely hatch within 1 to 2 days. Photo by Michael Kern.

Last modified: 9/5/2012 3:01 PM by S. Haren

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Water Resources Collections and Archives
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