SREL Reprint #0503|
The Role of Banding Studies in Evaluating the Accumulation and Cycling of Radionuclides and Other Environmental Contaminants in Free-Living Birds
Lehr Brisbin, Jr. and Jeff Swinebroad
With the recent advent of concern for manís environmental
crisis has come a need to study the movement and ultimate fate of a number
of contaminating materials which are now being introduced in every increasing
quantities into natural ecosystems.
Some of these contaminating materials include chlorinated hydrocarbons
and other pesticides, heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium, various
other industrial waste products and radioactive materials. Of all of these contaminants, radioactive materials offer particularly
interesting possibilities for studies of the cycling processes by which
such substances may move through natural systems and their inhabitants.
This is because of the relative ease with which many of these radioactive
substances may be detected and quantified in living subjects.
This then opens the door to studies of free-living individuals
which may be captured, have their body burdens of radioisotope contaminant
determined, and then be marked for later identification and released. If this same individual can later be recaptured, its contaminant
body burden may be determined once again, and when compared to the previous
level, could indicate whether the contamination level had increased, decreased
or remained constant during the period that the individual was free.
SREL Reprint #0503
Brisbin, I.L., Jr. and J. Swinebroad. 1975. The role of banding studies in evaluating the accumulation and cycling of radionuclides and other environmental contaminants in free living birds. Eastern Bird Banding Association Newsletter 38:186-192.