Date of Award:

1976

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

J. B. Low

Abstract

The breeding biology of western grebe was studied at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah in 1973 and 1974. More than 300 nests were located and data gathered on nesting habitat and success. Western grebe at Bear River selected nest sites for nearness to open water of approximately 30 em in depth. At least one young was hatching in 21 percent of the nests. Avian predation and abandonment of nests following drops in water levels caused the greatest loss of nests. Chlorinated hydrocarbons monitored in western grebes showed DDE, DDD, PCB, 1260, and PCB 1254 levels in 24 breast muscle samples (wet weight) to average 12. 8, 0. 8, 3. 8, and 3. 5 ppm respectively. Contaminant concentration was found to be correlated to the condition of the bird as determined by visceral fat content. A significant (p<. 01) 2. 3 percent decline in western grebe eggshell thickness between preand post-DDT use periods was found. DDE was significantly (p<. 05) negatively correlated with eggshell thickness in western grebe. Contaminants were not linked to any reproductive failure in western grebe at Bear River MBR.

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