Hormone analyses of Black-Footed Albatross (Phoebastria Nigripes) at Midway Atoll NWR and Tern Island, Hawaiian Islands NWR

Bourdon, Kater Alisha
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) are among the many species of seabirds whose numbers are affected every year by anthropogenic impacts. Until now, no one has looked at the transfer of contaminants via soil to P. nigripes. However, studies have been done on how the Laysan albatross (P. immutabilis) is affected by lead in the soil (Work and Smith, 1996; Finkelstein et aI., 2003). Studies on endocrine disruption and effects of PCB contamination in wildlife have shown that estradiol and testosterone levels may be ahered and skewed as a result of anthropogenic sources (Fry and Toone, 1981; Grasman et aI., 1996; Auman et aI., 1997). Thus, the levels of gonadal steroids may function as indicators of exposure to polycWorinated biphenyls in the soil affecting these long-lived seabirds. The objective of this study was to determine if nesting in PCB-contaminated areas affects hormone balance due to endocrine disruption in both adult and chick black-footed albatross on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and black-footed albatross chicks on Tern Island, Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge (HINWR). This thesis is divided into four parts. Chapter 1 contains the literature review and information on research background. The results for each island are presented in following chapters with the methods section similar at both locations. Chapter 2 compares hormone variation and soil contamination in two nesting sites on Midway Atoll. Chapter 3 discusses hormone variation between two nesting sites on Tern Island. Chapter 4 summarizes the work done in this study and suggests research that might be done in the future.
viii, 73 leaves
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