Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DDT linked to long-term decline of insect-eating birds in North America, through analysis of bird droppings

Date:
April 18, 2012
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Analysis of 50 years' bird droppings inside a large decommissioned chimney on a university campus, provided evidence that DDT and bird diet may have played a role, in a long-term decline for populations of insect-eating birds in North America.

New research findings highlight how deposits of animal droppings are scientifically important for determining the impact of environmental change on threatened species.

Related Articles


Analysis of 50 years' bird droppings inside a large decommissioned chimney on Queen's campus provided evidence that DDT and bird diet may have played a role in a long-term decline for populations of insect-eating birds in North America. The chimney had been a roosting spot for chimney swifts.

"Certainly there are many other deposits in large chimneys around North America and elsewhere, forming important environmental time capsules," says biology professor and co-author John P. Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and previous winner of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist. "It may be a stinky job, but someone has to do it!"

Researchers at Queen's University Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL) developed a protocol for sampling the accumulation of droppings. They created a profile of the chimney swift guano deposit, then recruited experts to analyze different parts of the profile.

DDT use peaked at the same time there was a dramatic reduction in the abundance of beetles -- insects especially susceptible to DDT -- in the diet of swifts, according to analysis of the pile of droppings. This illustrates an impact of DDT that adds to its already infamous role in the thinning of eggshells.

Chris Grooms (research technician for PEARL and Queen's Department of Biology) discovered the deposit in the chimney. Other members of the research team include Joe Nocera (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Trent University), Jules Blais and Linda Kimpe (University of Ottawa), David Beresford and Leah Finity (Trent University), Kurt Kyser, and Neal Michelutti (Queen's University) and Matthew Reudink (Thompson Rivers University). Funding for the research comes from NSERC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

These findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "DDT linked to long-term decline of insect-eating birds in North America, through analysis of bird droppings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418143759.htm>.
Queen's University. (2012, April 18). DDT linked to long-term decline of insect-eating birds in North America, through analysis of bird droppings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418143759.htm
Queen's University. "DDT linked to long-term decline of insect-eating birds in North America, through analysis of bird droppings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418143759.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins