Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences
Reproductive success of white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi) was measured in nine colonies on marshes in northern Utah during 1979. The effects of pesticides and characteristics of colonies and sub-colonies on reproductive success were examined.
DDE was present in all 80 eggs sampled and had a geometric mean concentration of 1.25 ppm. Shell thickness of 176 eggs was 4.3 percent below pre-1945 thickness. Shell thickness was weakly correlated with residues of DDT, DDE, Dieldrin, and heptachlor epoxide. Residues of these four pesticides were all correlated with each other. However, because of the stronger correlations between shell thickness and two residues, DDE and DDT, and because of studies in the literature, it was concluded that these two residues were responsible for the observed shell thinning. Observed levels of pesticides did not cause sufficient shell thinning to reduce hatching success, but clutch size was negatively correlated with pesticide residues.
Only two characteristics of colonies were observed to be associated with differences in reproductive success. Earlier sub-colonies had larger clutches and larger colonies suffered higher rates of predation. If there are effects of subcolony size, degree of nesting synchrony, vegetation type, or avian species association on reproductive success, they may not be detectable with one year of data.
Steele, Benjamin B., "Reproductive Success of the White-Faced Ibis: The Effects of Pesticides and Colony Characteristics" (1980). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7372.
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