Body Symmetry in Forster’s Terns Related to Mercury Exposure

Read the full story from the USGS.

Body symmetry of Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri) in San Francisco Bay was related to blood and feather mercury concentrations. Body asymmetry can affect a bird’s fitness by reducing flight efficiency, thus increasing energetic costs (especially during migration) and interrupting normal feeding and breeding behaviors.

Additional information

Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., and Ackerman, J.T., (2017). “Mercury exposure may influence fluctuating asymmetry in waterbirds.”  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 36(60), 1599-1605, doi: 10.1002/etc.3688.

Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., and Ackerman, J.T. (2016) “Fluctuating asymmetry in waterbirds in relation to mercury exposure.” U. S. Geological Survey Data Releasehttps://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7KW5D5Z

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