Presentation Title

Impacts of Toxins on the California Condor, Gymnogyps californianus: A Synthesis of Information

Location

Guzman 114

Start Date

4-19-2018 2:40 PM

End Date

4-19-2018 2:55 PM

Department

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor

Mani Subramanian, Ph.D. and Mietek Kolipinski, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Approximately 60 years ago California condors were on the edge of extinction. In the 1890’s 600 birds made up the wild population, but by 1960 there were fewer than 60 remaining. In 1967, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as an endangered species. During late 1980’s, in an effort to save the species from becoming fully extinct, all wild condors were captured to participate in an intensive recovery program. As of 1992, captive-bred condors began being released at five different sites: Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur, Hopper Mountain Wildlife Refuge Complex, Vermillion Cliffs, and Baja California. Upon their reintroduction, condors are monitored, protected and screened for toxins as their population continues to successfully increase. These restoration efforts have resulted in greater reproductive success, with a current population of over 400 birds, but whether populations will continue to grow without intensive management is unknown.

Students at Dominican University of California are conducting a literature synthesis involving detrimental effects of known toxins on the California condor. The decline in condor population was due to geological changes in their habitats sourcing from the Industrial Revolution, hunter-gaming of the birds, and toxins in the environment. Despite many challenges condors face, the greatest threat continues to be their ingestion of endocrine disrupting chemicals. The bioaccumulation of pesticides and mercury have been introduced to condors along coastal habitats, while feeding on the carcasses of high trophic level marine mammals. In contrast, lead fragments derived from ammunition source from terrestrial habitats where food items are generally dead grazers that include low trophic level herbivores such as deer or cattle. Our findings from the literature support the hypothesis that condors feeding on dead terrestrial animals have greater toxic contaminant loads than of those feeding on carcasses of marine animals.

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Apr 19th, 2:40 PM Apr 19th, 2:55 PM

Impacts of Toxins on the California Condor, Gymnogyps californianus: A Synthesis of Information

Guzman 114

Approximately 60 years ago California condors were on the edge of extinction. In the 1890’s 600 birds made up the wild population, but by 1960 there were fewer than 60 remaining. In 1967, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as an endangered species. During late 1980’s, in an effort to save the species from becoming fully extinct, all wild condors were captured to participate in an intensive recovery program. As of 1992, captive-bred condors began being released at five different sites: Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur, Hopper Mountain Wildlife Refuge Complex, Vermillion Cliffs, and Baja California. Upon their reintroduction, condors are monitored, protected and screened for toxins as their population continues to successfully increase. These restoration efforts have resulted in greater reproductive success, with a current population of over 400 birds, but whether populations will continue to grow without intensive management is unknown.

Students at Dominican University of California are conducting a literature synthesis involving detrimental effects of known toxins on the California condor. The decline in condor population was due to geological changes in their habitats sourcing from the Industrial Revolution, hunter-gaming of the birds, and toxins in the environment. Despite many challenges condors face, the greatest threat continues to be their ingestion of endocrine disrupting chemicals. The bioaccumulation of pesticides and mercury have been introduced to condors along coastal habitats, while feeding on the carcasses of high trophic level marine mammals. In contrast, lead fragments derived from ammunition source from terrestrial habitats where food items are generally dead grazers that include low trophic level herbivores such as deer or cattle. Our findings from the literature support the hypothesis that condors feeding on dead terrestrial animals have greater toxic contaminant loads than of those feeding on carcasses of marine animals.