Role of contaminants in seaduck population decline: metals in oldsquaw

Updated 2015-09-11

In order to determine the role of contaminants in declining populations of seaducks, it is proposed that: (1) archived samples of Oldsquaw collected from their Canadian arctic breeding grounds be analyzed for Hg, Se and Cu (in liver), Cd (in kidney), Pb (in wing bone), and selected samples be screened for a wider range of metals (in liver), and (2) archived samples of Oldsquaw wing bone be analyzed for stable isotopes (13C/12C; 15N/14N, and 34S/32S) and strontium (Sr) to discriminate whether birds from certain geographical areas of the Arctic are overwintering in freshwater (i.e. Great Lakes) or marine environments.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
1997 - 2002
Data collection
1997 - 2001
Data processing
2001 - 2002
Data reporting
2001 - 2002

Contact information

Contact person
Birgit Braune
Environment Canada National Wildlife Research Centre Carleton University (Raven Road) Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0H3
+1 613 998-6694
+1 613 998-0458

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Heavy metals
Other metals/elements
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Archived samples of liver, kidney and bone of oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis) will be analyzed.


Regions studied
Other metals/elements
Stations or areas where observations are made

Numerous locations across the Canadian Arctic were sampled.

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data are archived in Excel spreadsheet format and will be made available to the AMAP via the designated Canadian experts
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Braune et al. 2005. Regional differences in collagen stable isotope and trace element profiles in populations of long- tailed duck breeding in the Canadian Arctic. Science of the Total Environment, 346: 156-168.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Samples are archived in the National Wildlife Specimen Bank at NWRC in Ottawa, Ontario, for an indeterminate period of time. Sample homogenates are stored in both glass and polypropylene vials at -40°C.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

All samples are handled according to Canadian Wildlife Service protocols. These are available upon request.

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Environment Canada's NWRC laboratories participate in the Canadian Northern Contaminants Program Phase II Interlaboratory QA/QC program and have participated in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's interlaboratory program on mercury in fish.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Canadian Northern Contaminants Program

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

Community hunters collected the birds.

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