This book is a result of the authors’ more than 40 years of study on the behavior, populations, and heavy metals in the colonial waterbirds nesting in Barnegat Bay and the nearby estuaries and bays in the Northeastern United States. From Boston Harbor to the Chesapeake, based on longitudinal studies of colonial waterbirds, it provides a clear picture of the toxic trends and effects of heavy metals in the aquatic environment. The authors take a food web, ecosystem approach to contaminants, using population dynamics, habitat selection, and inputs to the bay to examine metal levels. They also look at the human dimension, discuss what metals in birds tell us about human exposure, and describe stakeholder involvement in these issues.
The book covers numbers and dynamics, colony sites and locations, and prey contaminant levels, and compares them to other comparable coastal estuaries. It uses colonial waterbirds as the focal point for an ecosystem approach to metals that begins with prey fish and goes through invertebrates to humans. Additionally, it provides information based on long-term integrative studies the authors have done on metal levels and bird species and compares the findings with data from the Harbor Estuaries Program, other Northeast bays, the Great Lakes, and the Wadden Sea.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION TO BARNEGAT BAY AND NORTHEAST ESTUARIES. Introduction. Barnegat Bay and Other Northeast Estuaries. Species, Methods, and Approaches. HABITAT AND POPULATION DYNAMICS. Habitat. Population Trends of Colonial Waterbirds in Barnegat Bay. Population Trends of Colonial Waterbirds in Other Northeast Bays. Global Warming, Sea Level Rise, and Suitable Nesting and Foraging Habitat. METALS. Overview of Ecotoxicology for Birds. Effects of Metals in Birds. Heavy Metals in Fish, Lower Trophic Levels, and Passerine Birds. Heavy Metal Levels in Terns and Black Skimmers. Heavy Metal Levels in Gulls. Heavy Metal Levels in Herons, Egrets, Night-Herons, and Ibises. IMPLICATIONS, CONCLUSIONS, AND THE FUTURE. Heavy Metals, Trophic Levels, Food Chains, and Future Risks. Colonial Waterbirds—The Future. Color Insert. References.
Joanna Burger, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology Evolution and Natural Resources, and Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Piscataway (New Jersey). She is a member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and the Rutgers School of Public Health. Her main scientific interests include the social behavior of vertebrates, ecological risk evaluations, ecotoxicology, and the intersections between ecological and human health. Dr. Burger has published more than 700 refereed papers and more than 20 books. Additionally, she has received the Brewster Medal from the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Risk Analysis.
Michael Gochfeld, MD, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and School of Public Health, Piscataway, New Jersey. He is an occupational physician and environmental toxicologist at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of Rutgers University. His main research interest has encompassed ecotoxicologic studies, primarily of birds. His biomedical interest focuses on heavy metal exposure and risk assessment for humans from consumption of fish, balancing the benefits against the toxicity of methylmercury. Dr. Gochfeld has coauthored or coedited eight books on protecting hazardous waste workers, avian reproductive ecology, and New Jersey’s biodiversity, as well as a textbook, Environmental Medicine.
"Reading Habitat, Population Dynamics, and Metal Levels in Colonial Waterbirds: A Food Chain Approach will make you an expert of sorts on Barnegat Bay and the Northeast estuaries. That might seem an ambitious goal for the authors as well as the reader. But it really is not the goal. It is merely the starting point. The bay needs advocates and defenders. And advocates and defenders need experts. That is where you will come in."
—Carl Safina, Director, The Safina Center at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York (from the Foreword)