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Pick a Bird Brain Series 2023
The Forever Chemicals: What Do We Need to Know About Their Effects on Birds and How Will We Learn It?

The last two decades have seen a marked increase in concern over the effects of PFAS on humans and wildlife. PFAS, or polyfluoralkyl substances, often called “the forever chemicals,” are persistent contaminants that enter the environment from a variety of sources, including manufacturing, landfills, and fire suppression. Among vertebrates, birds appear to be of particular concern for both exposure and effects. Reported effects on birds include early embryo mortality, failure to hatch, and high post hatching mortality. The specific mechanisms causing these effects are still poorly understood but may include disruptions of thyroid hormone signaling and fatty acid metabolism.
Dr. Matt Etterson will present findings from a recently completed study that surveyed birds of prey trapped during migration at Hawk Ridge or admitted as patients to The Raptor Center. For the study, up to 33 PFAS chemicals were investigated in blood samples from 11 species of diurnal and nocturnal raptors. Patterns of contamination were investigated in relation to the biology and life history of the species including size, diet, and taxonomy. Dr. Etterson will also provide a general background on avian PFAS work being done in Duluth and nationally as concern increases over this very large class of chemicals.

Feb 23, 2023 07:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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