[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we used feathers to biomonitor exposure to the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Aroclor 1268 congener mixture in clapper rails (Rallus longirostris). This species has been used as an indicator species of environmental damage for the LCP superfund site located in Brunswick, GA, USA which is contaminated with Aroclor 1268, a congener mixture that has been used in limited amounts elsewhere and therefore can be used as a contaminant marker. The Aroclor 1268 congener mixture, including congener profiles, were quantified in feathers using gas chromatography (GC). Concurrently, each sample was quantified for the total Aroclor 1268 congener mixture using an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and compared to the GC results to determine if ELISA was an efficient method for quantifying or qualifying PCBs in feathers. ELISA consistently quantified PCB loads over an order of magnitude lower than the GC. Based on sample replication, extraction recovery, and sample spike, it appears that GC is the more reliable method of detection and that ELISA methods may be more suitable for qualitative exposure assessment for this particular Aroclor. Moreover, since all clapper rails from the LCP site had the Aroclor 1268 congener mixture in their feathers, this experiment showed that birds were returning to the site to breed despite the adverse effects experienced by this population from the contamination revealed in previous studies. This study also supports the utility of feathers as a non-lethal mechanism by which to biomonitor PCBs in the environment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Surveys for evidence of exposure to pseudorabies virus (PRV), Brucella suis, swine influenza virus (SIV; human-like H1N1, reassortant type H1N1, H1N2-like H1N1 and H3N2), porcine circovirus 2 (PCV 2), and porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSV) in feral swine (Sus scrofa) were conducted in areas where feral swine were geographically associated with high densities of transitional swine premises in South Carolina and high densities of commercial swine production in North Carolina. In South Carolina, 10/50 (20.0%), 7/50 (14.0%), and 29/49 (59.2%) feral swine tested antibody positive for PRV, B. suis, and PCV-2, respectively. Antibodies to PRRSV (0/49) and SIV (0/49) were not detected. In North Carolina, antibodies to PRV and B. suis were not detected in serum samples from 120 feral swine; however, antibodies to PRRSV (1/120 [0.8%]), PCV-2 (86/120 [71.7%]; these included 80 positives plus six suspects), and SIV (108/119 [90.7%]) were present. The presence of PRV and B. suis in South Carolina may have been due to the introduction of infected feral swine into the area or to a previous association of feral swine with infected transitional swine. Their absence in the North Carolina populations may have been due to the absence of these disease agents in the feral swine originally introduced into the area and the lack of a potential for contact with infected commercial swine. Feral swine associated with commercial swine in North Carolina may have been exposed to SIV subtypes circulating in commercial swine via airborne spread of SIV from commercial swine facilities. Feral swine seropositive for PCV-2 were prevalent in both states, which may indicate efficient transmission from commercial swine and transitional swine, or that PCV-2 is widespread in feral swine. The low prevalence of animals with antibodies against PRRSV may indicate a less-than-efficient means of transmission from commercial to feral swine. Additional epidemiologic studies are needed to understand the risks and mechanisms of transmission of disease agents among commercial, transitional, and feral swine, and the role of feral swine as reservoirs of these disease agents.
Journal of wildlife diseases 08/2009; 45(3):713-21. · 1.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clapper rails (Rallus longirostris) were used as an indicator species of estuarine marsh habitat quality because of their strong site fidelity and predictable diet consisting of mostly benthic organisms. Mercury (Hg) and the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Aroclor 1268 concentrations were determined for sediments, crabs, as well as clapper rail adults and chicks collected from salt marshes associated with the LCP Superfund site in Brunswick, Georgia. Home ranges were established for adult rails, and sediment and crab samples were taken from each individual's range. The study was designed to minimize the spatial variability associated with trophic transfer studies by choosing an endpoint species with a potentially small home range and specifically sampling its foraging range. The mean home range for clapper rails was 1.2 ha with a median of 0.28 ha. Concentrations of Hg and Aroclor 1268 were shown to increase with each trophic level. Transfer factors between media followed the same pattern for both contaminants with the highest between fiddler crabs and clapper rail liver. Hg and PCB transfer factors were similar between sediment to fiddler crab and fiddler crab to muscle, however the PCB transfer factor from fiddler crabs to liver was over twice as large as for Hg. PCB congener profiles did not significantly differ between media types.