USGS at The Wildlife Society: From sea-ice change to contaminants to predators and prey

y and gold, and releases of mercury from these areas to downstream aquatic environments are of concern for fish, wildlife, and human health. Mercury concentrations found in amphibians (post-metamorphic bullfrogs, foothill yellow-legged frogs, and Pacific treefrogs) from eight watersheds confirmed the presence of significant sources of mercury, especially at mercury-mining sites, and, to a lesser extent, in areas impacted by gold mining. Mercury concentrations in certain amphibians, especially bullfrogs in the Cache Creek Watershed in the Coast Range Mountains, were commonly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's criterion for issuance of health advisories for fish consumption. Since the bullfrog is a sport species whose legs are frequently consumed by humans, the elevated concentrations found in bullfrogs from Cache Creek pose a serious concern for human health. Concentrations of mercury in amphibians were closely correlated with those in aquatic insects, fish, and cliff swallow eggs from the same sites, confirming the usefulness of amphibians as indicators of mercury contamination, especially in fishless areas. Roger Hothem, Session 48, Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006, 8:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

Predator-Prey Studies Through the Years (keynote):

Wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and other carnivores are returning to much of the United States where they have not lived for decades. Thus studies of predators and their prey are taking on a new significance. Do predators control their prey? What determines predator numbers? Do predators tend to kill primarily inferior prey? What role does weather play in predator-prey relations? Does predator control work to increase prey numbers? What do we know about the cascading effects of predators in ecosystems? These are among the many questions researchers have been exploring over the years, and the answers are far from simple. L. David Mech, Session 33, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 8:00- 8:20 a.m.


Contact: Catherine Puckett
United States Geological Survey

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