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Effects of elevated selenium on body condition, oxidative stress, and organ health in greater scaup wintering at Lake Ontario


  • Associate Editor: Haukos


Elevated selenium (Se) concentrations have been detected in tissues of greater (Aythya marila) and lesser (A. affinis) scaup and it has been hypothesized that these Se concentrations may be affecting scaup health and reducing survival and, thus, negatively affecting scaup populations in North America. We evaluated the influence of hepatic Se concentrations on lipid and protein reserves, organ masses, tissue health, and oxidative stress of greater scaup wintering at western Lake Ontario during December–March, 2006–2007. Although we detected Se at elevated levels, all greater scaup with physical abnormalities (13 of 73 birds) had Se concentrations below the acute health problem threshold established for mallards (33 µg/g). Neither organ masses, protein reserves, nor measures of oxidative stress were influenced by hepatic Se concentrations, whereas lipid reserves varied positively with hepatic Se concentrations. Results suggest that hepatic Se concentrations at levels recorded in our study do not affect body condition or physical health of greater scaup. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.