Source: RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY submitted to
FISH, FISHING, AND RISK TO ECO-RECEPTORS AND HUMANS IN COASTAL NEW JERSEY
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0175541
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NJ17102
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Aug 1, 2009
Project End Date
Jul 31, 2014
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Burger, J.
Recipient Organization
RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
3 RUTGERS PLZA
NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ 08901-8559
Performing Department
Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources
Non Technical Summary
Most states are facing an environmental situation in which contaminants are increasing, human populations are increasing, habitat for wildlife is decreasing, and human and ecological health risk is increasing. This project will examine the risk to eco-receptors and humans from contaminants in fish. This entails understanding how contaminants (mercury, lead, cadmium) move through the food chain to reach top level predators (birds, fish, humans), and what the risk is. For humans, it also involves understanding consumption patterns and fishing behavior. We will collect fish and other biota to examine levels of heavy metals, interview people to determine their fishing behavior and consumption patterns, and determin risk to people and other top level predators. People cannot make informed decisions about what species of fish to eat unless they understand the levels of contaminants in those foods, and how mercury bioaccumulates in different species of fish. Armed with such information people can choose what fish to eat, given their own status (male, female, pregnant, age), and their risk levels
Animal Health Component
(N/A)
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
(N/A)
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1120810115010%
1340599115010%
1350810107010%
1350820107012%
3060810107012%
3060820115012%
3140810115017%
3140820107017%
Goals / Objectives
GOALS: The goal of this research is to examine toxic chemicals in fish, and the fate and effects of these chemicals in eco-receptors and humans. To understand the potential risk to consumers of fish and shellfish, it is essential to understand fishing rates, consumption rates, the reasons why people fish, and contaminant levels in those fish or other resources. Few scientists examine the whole process from how and why people fish, through understanding of the marine ecosystem, to contaminants in fish and other marine resources (e.g. shellfish, birds), to risk assessment and risk management. This proposal has elements of the whole process, and fits nicely into the mission of NJAES because these issues relate directly to commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and food safety. The earlier phases of this study have included collaborations with the public, with the Jersey Coast Angler's Association, with the Jersey Shore Shark Association, and with NJ DEP (through fish collections on their trawls). Only with the collaboration among these people can we conduct research that is both scientifically sound and directly responsive to the needs of the public to understand the risks from fish consumption. OBJECTIVES: 1.Continue to work with the NJ angler associations and the public to provide information on contaminants that allows appropriate risk balancing. 2.Examine contaminant levels in fish and birds to monitor changes that are potentially important for the marine ecosystem and human health 3.Examine fishing behavior and consumption patterns OUTPUTS: 1. Publications to the scientific community 2. Meetings and communication tools for the general public 3. Brochures for the general public 4. Meetings and information for regulators and state agencies
Project Methods
METHODS: 1.Continue to monitor population dynamics and habitat utilization of colonial birds in Barnegat Bay (visits to all colonies 6-10 times/year) to count the number of birds and determine reproductive success 2.Collect bird eggs and feather for analysis of heavy metals 3.Collect marine fish for chemical analysis from recreational fishermen and from NJ DEP trawls (only to obtain smaller fish for analysis than are allowed by fishing laws) (all collecting with appropriate permits). 4.Analyze lead, mercury, arsenic, selenium, chromium and other heavy metals in bird and fish tissue. 5.Collect data on fishing and why people fish, through interviews and surveys approved by the IRB. 6.Analyze the data on population dynamics, heavy metals, and fishing behavior to provide an integrated approach to understanding the risk trade-offs between different species of fish, and to integrate these understandings with the social/cultural aspects of fishing. WORK PLAN TASK 1. Continue to implement sampling of birds and reproductive success in colonies - All five years 2. Year-end analysis of habitat selection, population sizes and reproductive success - All five years 3. Final examination of 5 year colony trends- Only in year five 4. Collection of fish from recreational fishermen - All five years 5. Collection of fish from NJDEP trawls - All five years 6.Yearly analysis of heavy metal levels in fish - All five years 7. Yearly report of contaminant levels to fishermen in clubs and in their Newsletters - All five years 8.Five Year analysis of trends in contaminant levels in fish- Only year five 9.Publication of results of colony dynamics, contaminant levels in birds, and contaminant levels in fish- Year three and five 10.Interviewing recreational fishermen Yearly analysis of interview data, relevant publication in scientific journals - All five years 11.Periodic reviews of interview data for temporal trends - All five years X 12.Reporting of fishing and consumption patterns to fishing groups, WIC, and the public- Year five 13. Report results at regional, national, and international scientific meetings for all four aspects (Colony dynamics, contaminants in birds, contaminants in fish, fishing behavior and consumption patterns- Last three years 14. Meet with stakeholders to determine future directions and other desired analyses - All five years INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COOPERATION: 1.NJDEP - Allowing us to go on their trawls to collect small fish to allow us to examine mercury and other contaminants as a function of size. 2.NJ Fishing Associations (have provided money for analysis over the last 4 years) a.Jersey Coast Angler's Association b.New Jersey Shore Shark Association 3.EOHSI and NIEHS Center of Excellence - involved in partial funding of chemical analysis.

Progress 08/01/09 to 07/31/14

Outputs
Target Audience: Researchers, regulatory agencies, and consumers. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Presentations at research conferences and publications in research journals. Discussions with local stakeholder groups. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Our overall research goals were to examine mercury levels in fish of recreational and commercial interest in New Jersey, determine selenium/mercury molar ratios in fish because an excess of selenium might ameliorate the effects of mercury, examine consumption rates for people eating self-caught fish, determine potential risk, and to use birds as bioindicators of potential exposure of wildlife. Our research was able to address these problems, although continuous monitoring is required to assess both risk of fish consumption to human consumers, and potential changes in exposure of birds to environmental contaminants. This research has led to a number of relevant publications and talks given to stakeholder groups. In addition, we have presented talks and papers at scientific meetings, at local stakeholder groups (e.g. Audubon Societies, Colonial Waterbird Groups), and at state meetings (e.g. NJ Endangered and NonGame Council). Another area of research has involved examining the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the perceptions of coastal residents about ecological resources. This has resulted in several publications and talks, as well as additional funding from the US Centers for Disease Control. Our research findings for the period can be summarized as the following: We examined selenium mercury molar ratios in internal tissues of bluefish (because they are an important game fish for NJ), as well as these ratios in a range of New Jersey fish. The ratios are important because excess selenium might partly ameliorate the adverse effects of mercury. The ratios were fairly high for most fish, meaning that selenium levels would be protective. The ratios were low for some fish, which suggests that the effects of mercury would be felt. We examined fish consumption rates of NJ anglers in light of mercury levels, and determined that some fishermen are eating enough fish to be above the safe advisory levels. We computed these for a number of the most frequently eaten self-caught fish. Sushi is an important food item to NJ residents, and we found that the mercury in tuna sushi can be sufficiently high to provide a risk to high end consumers. We examined overall fish consumption and the relative risk from different species of fish, and showed that the NJ consumer can select fish that are high in nutrients and fatty acids, while being low in mercury. Using feathers as a bioindicator, we found that mercury levels did not change dramatically over a 25 year period, but that cadmium and lead decreased. The decreases were partly due to regulation (no more lead in gasoline, removal of cadmium from batteries), and the lack of a change in mercury may be due to increases from power plant emissions in the US and China.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., and T. Fote. 2013. Stakeholder Participation in Research Design and Decisions: Scientists, Fishers, and Mercury in Saltwater Fish. Ecohealth. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-013-0816-8
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J. 2013. Temporal trends (1989-2011) in levels of mercury and other heavy metals in feathers of fledgling great egrets nesting in Barnegat Bay, NJ. Environmental Research 122: 11-17.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 2013. Selenium and mercury molar ratios in commercial fish from New Jersey and Illinois: Variation within species and relevance to risk communication. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 57: 234-345
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld M. 2013. Selenium:mercury molar ratios in freshwater, marine and commercial fish from the United States: variation, risk, and health management. Reviews on Environmental Health. 28:129-143.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. 2014. Sushi consumption rates and mercury levels in sushi: ethnic and demographic differences in exposure. Journal of Risk Research. 17 (8) 981- 997.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Burger, J. 2014. Selenium/Mercury Molar Ratios in Freshwater, Marine, and Commercial Fish: Variation, Risk, and Health Management National Forum on Contaminants in Fish, 21-24 September 2014, Alexandria V.A.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld M. 2014. Fishing, fish, and fish consumption: benefits and risks.February 2014, New Brunswick, NJ


Progress 01/01/13 to 09/30/13

Outputs
Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Understanding Risk from Mercury Pollution. Mercury circulates globally, and results in atmospheric deposition of mercury to the land and water. Once in the water, mercury is converted to methylmercury, and moves up the food chain, accumulating in high level predators, such as birds, predatory fish, and humans. In this project we have been examining the levels of mercury and other heavy metals in a wide range of species, from predatory fish to humans. The research overall shows that mercury has been increasing slightly, or has remained the same in aquatic birds over the last 30 years, and presumably, in the fish that the birds and people eat. Fish consumption has not decreased, and people interviewed continue to eat top-level predatory fish. This project has wide-ranging implications for New Jersey ecological receptors and humans because it examines the levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and other metals in a wide range of fish and birds, and examines consumption patterns of people. These data provide an indication of the potential risk to eco-receptors of heavy metals, and therefore, of the risk to people who consume fish from coastal waters. A second prong of the study examines the attitudes of people toward Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Our data show that although NJ residents believe that natural resources that are injured should be restored, they do not understand the term "Natural Resource Damage Assessment", nor do they have a firm understanding of who should restore these resources. A third prong of the study found that there is both little information, and little understanding of the relationship between selenium levels in fish, and mercury. Recent studies from the lab have indicated that selenium is protective for mercury effects. However, there are few data on salt water fish that examines this relationship. Our project is examining the relationship between selenium and mercury in the full range of salt water fish that fishermen and fisherwomen say they catch. The samples we use are from the fisherfolk themselves; thus the results will have direct applicability to the NJ public. Further, these results will be usef

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. 2013. Mercury and selenium levels, and selenium:mercury molar ratios of brain, muscle and other tissues in bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) from New Jersey, USA . Science of the Total Environment. 443:278-286.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Lesser, F., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. 2013. Bioindicators for environmental assessment and monitoring: Metals in wading birds from New Jersey. International Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering Research. 3 (3): 147-160
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Burger, J. 2013. Role of self-caught fish in total fish consumption rates for recreational fisherman: average consumption rates exceeds allowable intake. Journal of Risk Research 16: 1057-1075.


Progress 01/01/12 to 12/31/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Barnegat Bay project has several prongs, including: 1) tracking levels of mercury, cadmium, and lead in birds and in fish, 2)understanding population dynamics of coastal birds 3) determining the risk from mercury and other metals to fish, birds and to humans 4) Perceptions of natural resources and damage to those resources from contaminants. All of these are topics of great interest to scientists, governmental agencies, and the public. My activities during this period include the following: 1. Conduct regular surveys of numbers of birds in Barnegat Bay 2. Collect and analyze levels of mercury, lead and cadmium in feathers and eggs of birds, and in muscle of fish 3. Collect and analyze data on Pine snake numbers and hibernation use 4. Conducted surveys of fisherman and other recreationists in Barnegat Bay & Raritan Bay to understand perceptions about New Jersey's natural resources. The data we generate is distributed a number of ways, and is used by several different types of stakeholders. 1. Information on population dynamics of colonial birds is distributed to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (Endangered and Nongame Species Program), to the relevant coastal cities (who manage these areas), and to local conservationists who also are engaged in protection. It is our data that is used to track and manage the population size of several state endangered species. 2. Our data on shorebird use at Delaware Bay and elsewhere is being used by the federal recovery programs to decide how to manage shorebirds. 3. Information on levels of mercury, cadmium and lead is also being used by NJDEP as an indicator of environmental quality. 4. Information on mercury and selenium levels in salt water fish (recreational fish) is being disseminated to the public via the New Jersey Coastal Anglers Association. PARTICIPANTS: PARTICIPANTS: Graduate Students: Chris Jeitner and Taryn Pittfield. Technicians: Mark Donio. All of these students participated in censusing, collecting data on behavioral responses of Black Skimmers to human disturbance, collected feathers and eggs for metal analysis, collected recreational fish for analysis, interviewed fishermen and others for consumption patterns, interviewed the general public on attitudes toward ecological resources and what resources should be restored if injured, dissected tissues in the laboratory for chemical analysis, digested samples and ran chemical analyses. TARGET AUDIENCES: TARGET AUDIENCES: scientific community, ecologists, wildlife managers, state regulators, health professionals, and the public, the anglers of New Jersey, and it is also being used by other nearby states. It is also being used indirectly by states farther as a baseline for their own contamination data. The information on contaminants in bird eggs is being used as an indicator of trends in mercury contamination along the east coast. It is essential to build databases that can be used to assess status and trends of key environmental indicators of human and ecological health, and this project is developing such indicators. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Understanding Risk from Mercury Pollution - One of the main problems resulting from use of coal for energy production is the emissions of mercury into the atmosphere. This mercury then circulates globally, and results in atmospheric deposition of mercury to the land and water. Once in the water, mercury is converted to methylmercury, and moves up the food chain, accumulating in high level predators, such as birds, predatory fish, and humans. In this project we have been examining the levels of mercury and other heavy metals in a wide range of species, from predatory fish to humans. The research overall shows that mercury has been increasing slightly, or has remained the same in aquatic birds over the last 30 years, and presumably, in the fish that the birds and people eat. Fish consumption has not decreased, and people interviewed continue to eat top-level predatory fish. Failure to change perceptions of the importance of eating a diversity of fish, and of eating fewer fish that are high level predators has not reached the public. People continue to consume fish without much regard for the diversity of fish available, or for the reduction in portion size or fish size (smaller fish have lower levels of mercury). Cadmium and lead, as well as most other contaminants, have declined over the last 30 years in the fish and birds of Barnegat Bay, reflecting overall public concern and regulatory actions. This project has wide-ranging implications for New Jersey ecological receptors and humans because it examines the levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and other metals in a wide range of fish and birds, and examines consumption patterns of people. These data provide an indication of the potential risk to eco-receptors of heavy metals, and therefore, of the risk to people who consume fish from coastal waters. A second prong of the study examines the attitudes of people toward Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Our data show that although NJ residents believe that natural resources that are injured should be restored, they do not understand the term "Natural Resource Damage Assessment", nor do they have a firm understanding of who should restore these resources. A third prong of the study found that there is both little information, and little understanding of the relationship between selenium levels in fish, and mercury. Recent studies from the lab have indicated that selenium is protective for mercury effects. However, there are few data on salt water fish that examines this relationship. Our project is examining the relationship between selenium and mercury in the full range of salt water fish that fishermen and fisherwomen say they catch. The samples we use are from the fisherfolk themselves; thus the results will have direct applicability to the NJ public. Further, these results will be useful when added to the growing literature on mercury/selenium relationships by providing data on levels, seasonal variations, and geographical variations. We have found variations in the ratio by season, size of fish, and geographical location in New Jersey.

Publications

  • Burger, J., Clarke J., and M. Gochfeld. (2011). Information Needs for Siting New, and Evaluating Current, Nuclear Facilities: Ecology, Fate and Transport, and Human Health. Environ Monit Assess. 172(1-4):121-34.
  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. (2011). Mercury and Selenium in 19 species of saltwater fish from New Jersey as a function of species, size, and season. Sci. of the Total Environ. 409:1418-1429.
  • Tsipoura, N., Burger, J., Newhouse, M., Jeitner, C., Gochfeld, M., and D. Mizrahi. (2011). Lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, and arsenic levels in eggs, feathers, and tissues of Canada geese of the New Jersey Meadowlands. Environmental Research. 111: 775-784.
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., and C. Jeitner. (2011). Locational differences in mercury and selenium levels in 19 species of saltwater fish from New Jersey. J Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A. 74(13):863-874.
  • Burger J., and M. Gochfeld. (2011). Conceptual Environmental Justice Model: Evaluation of Chemical Pathways of Exposure in Low-Income, Minority, Native American, and Other Unique Exposure Populations American Journal of Public Health. (In press)
  • Burger J., and M. Gochfeld. (2011) Disproportionate Exposures in Environmental Justice and Other Populations: Outliers Matter. American Journal of Public Health. (In press)
  • Burger, J. (editor) 2011. Stakeholders and Scientists: Achieving Implementable Solutions to Energy and Environmental Issues. Springer, New York, New York.
  • Burger, J. 2011. The Northern Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) in New Jersey: Its Life History, Behavior and Conservation. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. New York.
  • Burger, Joanna. (2011). The Northern Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) in New Jersey: Its Life History, Behavior and Conservation. In: Reptiles: Biology, Behavior, and Conservation. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. New York, New York.
  • Burger, Joanna (2011). Ecology and Environmental Health. In: The Praeger Handbook of Environmental Health. Praeger, New York, New York.
  • Burger, Joanna. (2011) Introduction: Stakeholders and Sciences. In: J Burger (ed) Science and Stakeholders: Achieving Implementable Solutions to Energy and Environmental Issues. Springer: New York.


Progress 10/01/11 to 09/30/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Barnegat Project has several prongs: including 1) tracking levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, selenium and other metals in eggs and feathers of birds, and in tissues of fish, 2) examining avian population dynamics, particularly colonial-nesting species, 3) examining levels of heavy metals, particularly mercury, in the edible tissues of fish, 4) examining fishing rates and consumption patterns of anglers along the Jersey shore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May, 5) examining perceptions of natural resources and use of the New Jersey shore. All of these topics are of great interest to academics, the public, regulators and resource agencies, and to the public. My activities during the last year have included: 1) conducting analyses of metals levels in bird eggs, leading to a 36 year data set on contaminants in eggs of Common Terns, 2) Continued tracking of population numbers for Common Terns and Black Skimmers, for 38 years, 3) Publications examining levels of metals, particularly mercury:selenium molar ratios in edible fish tissue, and their relationship to risk to humans consuming fish, and 4) examination of mercury and selenium levels in tissues of bluefish to understand potential risk to the bluefish themselves. I present talks to fishermen, the public, and scientists on all aspects of this work. Our work with Red Knots in Delaware Bay, a candidate species with the USFWS, has resulted in papers, and is having an influence on the movement of knots from a candidate species to an endangered species. We are awaiting the final judgement on this issue. However, our work with movement of Red Knots on the East Coast, including the NJ coast, has provided the first data on movements and time spent along the Atlantic cost. PARTICIPANTS: Not relevant to this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Not relevant to this project. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Our work with heavy metals in Common Tern eggs and feathers is the longest running data set with birds in the U.S., and allows us to compare contaminant levels with work completed in Europe and elsewhere. Further, our work with egrets and ibises provides a trophic level analysis of metal bioaccumulation in Barnegat Bay that can be compared with work from elsewhere. The work is being used by federal and state agencies to understand contaminant levels. Our work with population dynamics, a 38 year data set, is also unique in the U.S. (partly because it is published and available), is being used by resource managers on a regular basis to understand avian populations. Further, both of these data sets will be used to compare effects of SANDY with the previous years. This kind of comparison, adding to our understanding of the effects of hurricanes and severe storms, is only possible BECAUSE we have such a long data set. With all the physical changes in Barnegat Bay, it will be critical to be able to compare biological effects, using birds. Our work with fishing, fish consumption, and contaminant levels in fish has been used by USEPA, as well as state agencies to understand the risk NJ residents face from fish consumption. Our work with these issues from other regions allows us to put this into context. We are often asked to give talks on these subjects at national and international meetings, on mercury and on risk.

Publications

  • Burger, J., L. Niles, R. Porter, A. Dey, S. Koch, and C. Gordon. (2012). Using a shorebird (red knot) fitted with geolocators to evaluate a conceptual risk model focusing on off shore wind. Renewable Energy 43:370-377.
  • Burger, J. (2012) Selenium:mercury molar ratios in fish from the Savannah River: Implications for risk management. Journal of Risk Research. 15(3): 627-644.
  • Burger J, Gochfeld M, Jeitner C, Donio M, Pittfield T. 2012. Activity patterns and perceptions of goods, services, and eco-cultural attributes by ethnicity and gender for Native Americans and Caucasians. Int J Sports Manage Rec Tourism. Vol 9 (epub ahead of print).
  • Gochfeld, M., Burger, J., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. (2012) Seasonal, locational and size variations in mercury and selenium levels in Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) from New Jersey. Environmental Research 112:8-19.
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. (2012). Lead (Pb) in Biota and Perceptions of Lead Exposure at a Recently-designated Superfund Beach Site in New Jersey. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. 75 (5): 272-287.
  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld.(2012). Selenium and mercury ratios in saltwater fish from New Jersey: individual and species variations complicate possible use in human health consumption advisories. Environmental Research 114: 12-23.
  • Burger, J. (2012). Perceptions of goods, services, and eco-cultural attributes of Native Americans and Caucasians in Idaho. Remediation. 22(3): 105-121.
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield . (2012). Interspecific and intraspecific s variation in selenium: mercury molar ratios in saltwater fish from the Aleutians: Potential protection of selenium on mercury toxicity. Sciences of the Total Environment 431: 46-56.
  • Burger, J., L Niles, R. porter, A. Dey, S. Koch, and C. Gordon (2012). Migration and overwintering of Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa) along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Condor 114(2) 302-313
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. 2012. Selenium:Mercury Molar Ratios in Freshwater Fish from Tennessee: Individual, Species, and Geographical Variations have Implications for Management. EcoHealth 9 (2), 171-182.
  • Burger J, Niles LJ, Porter RR, Dey AD. 2012. Using geolocators to reveal incubation periods and breeding biology in Red Knots. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119(1) 26-36.
  • Burger, J., Niles, L.J. 2012. Shorebirds and stakeholders: Effects of beach closure and human activities on shorebirds at a New Jersey coastal beach. Urban Ecosystems. DOI 10.1007/s11252-012-0269-9
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., and T. Pittfield. 2012. Frequency and rates of outdoor activities and perceptions of places to perform these activities by Native Americans and Caucasians interviewed in Tennessee. Urban Ecosystems. ( in press)


Progress 01/01/10 to 12/31/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Barnegat Bay project has several prongs, including: 1) tracking levels of mercury, cadmium, and lead in birds and in fish, 2)understanding population dynamics of coastal birds 3) determining the risk from mercury and other metals to fish, birds and to humans 4) Perceptions of natural resources and damage to those resources from contaminants. All of these are topics of great interest to scientists, governmental agencies, and the public. My activities during this period include the following: 1. Conduct regular surveys of numbers of birds in Barnegat Bay 2. Collect and analyze levels of mercury, lead and cadmium in feathers and eggs of birds, and in muscle of fish 3. Collect and analyze data on Pine snake numbers and hibernation use 4. Conducted surveys of fisherman and other recreationist in Barnegat Bay & Raritan Bay to understand perceptions about New Jersey's natural resources. Activities aimed at public education included the following: 1. Presented talks at Barnegat Bay Festival 2. Presented talks at New Jersey Coastal Anglers Association 3. Presented talks on the science at American Ornithological Union Meetings, and at the international Waterbirds Conference. The data we generate is distributed a number of ways, and is used by several different types of stakeholders. 1. Information on population dynamics of colonial birds is distributed to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (Endangered and nongame Species Program), to the relevant coastal cities (who manage these areas), and to local conservationists who also are engaged in protection. It is our data that is used to track the population size of several state endangered species, and to be used in management. 2. Our data on shorebird use at Delaware Bay and elsewhere is being used by the federal recovery programs to decide how to manage shorebirds. 3. Information on levels of mercury, cadmium and lead is also being used by NJDEP as an indicator of environmental quality. This information is also of use to scientists in understanding metal dynamics is coastal systems. 4. Information on mercury and selenium levels in salt water fish (recreational fish) is being disseminated to the public via the New Jersey Coastal Anglers Association. Our work is partly funded by this organization, and we regularly attend meetings to present and discuss our findings, and this information is then taken back to different NJ coastal angler clubs. This project is entirely stakeholder driven, and we address issues of concern to the fishermen and their families 5. The information on the effects of human disturbance on Black Skimmers will be used by NJDEP to set buffers around breeding colonies to ensure protection of these endangered species. 6. The information on the effects of off road vehicles on Pine Snakes is being used by the NJ Dept. of Parks to enforce regulations, and to put up barriers around sensitive Pine Snake hibernation sites. However, having data to show the effects of off-road vehicles was essential to being able to develop these regulations. PARTICIPANTS: Graduate Students: Chris Jeitner and Taryn Pittfield. Technicians: Colleen Conover and Mark Donio. All of these students participated in censusing, collecting data on behavioral responses of Black Skimmers to human disturbance, collected feathers and eggs for metal analysis, collected recreational fish for analysis, interviewed fishermen and others for consumption patterns, interviewed the general public on attitudes toward ecological resources and what resources should be restored if injured, dissected tissues in the laboratory for chemical analysis, digested samples and ran chemical analyses TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for the Barnegat Bay work is the scientific community, ecologists, wildlife managers, state regulators, health professionals, and the public. The information on mercury levels in fish is of particular interest to the anglers of New Jersey, and because this information is not available for other states, it is also being used by other nearby states. It is also being used indirectly by states farther as a baseline for their own contamination data. The information on contaminants in bird eggs is being used as an indicator of trends in mercury contamination along the east coast. It is essential to build databases that can be used to assess status and trends of key environmental indicators of human and ecological health, and this project is developing such indicators. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Understanding Risk from Mercury Pollution - One of the main problems resulting from use of coal for energy production is the emissions of mercury into the atmosphere. This mercury then circulates globally, and results in atmospheric deposition of mercury to the land and water. Once in the water, mercury is converted to methylmercury, and moves up the food chain, accumulating in high level predators, such as birds, predatory fish, and humans. In this project we have been examining the levels of mercury and other heavy metals in a wide range of species, from predatory fish to humans. The research overall shows that mercury has been increasing slightly, or has remained the same in aquatic birds over the last 30 years, and presumably, in the fish that the birds and people eat. Fish consumption, has not decreased, and people interviewed continue to eat top-level predatory fish. Failure to change perceptions of the importance of eating a diversity of fish, and of eating fewer fish that are high level predators has not reached the public. People continue to consume fish without much regard for the diversity of fish available, or for the reduction in portion size or fish size (smaller fish have lower levels of mercury). Cadmium and lead, as well as most other contaminants, have declined over the last 30 years in the fish and birds of Barnegat Bay, reflecting overall public concern and regulatory actions. This project has wide-ranging implications for New Jersey ecological receptors and humans because it examines the levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and other metals in a wide range of fish and birds, and examines consumption patterns of people. These data provide an indication of the potential risk to eco-receptors of heavy metals, and therefore, of the risk to people who consume fish from coastal waters. A second prong of the study examines the attitudes of people toward Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Our data show that although NJ residents believe that natural resources that are injured should be restored, they do not understand the term "Natural Resource Damage Assessment", nor do they have a firm understanding of who should restore these resources. A third prong of the study found that there is both little information, nor little understanding of the relationship between selenium levels in fish, and mercury. Recent studies from the lab have indicated that selenium is protective for mercury effects. However, there are few data on salt water fish that examines this relationship. Our project is examining the relationship between selenium and mercury in the full range of salt water fish that fishermen and fisherwomen say they catch. The samples we use are from the fisherfolk themselves; thus the results will have direct applicability to the NJ public. Further, these results will be useful when added to the growing literature on mercury/selenium relationships by providing data on levels, seasonal variations, and geographical variations. We have found variations in the ratio by season, size of fish, and geographical location in New Jersey.

Publications

  • Burger, J. (2009). Risk to consumers from mercury in Bluefish ( Pomatomus saltatrix) from New Jersey: Size, Season, and Geographical effects. Environmental Research. 109(7): 803-811.
  • Burger, J., Jeitner, C., Donio, M., Shukla, S., & Gochfeld, M. (2009). Factors affecting mercury and selenium levels in New Jersey flatfish: Low risk to human consumers. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues, 72(13-14): 853-860.
  • Burger, J. 2009. Stakeholder involvement in indicator selection: Case studies and levels of participation. Environmental Bioindicators. 4:170-190.
  • Padula, V., Burger, J., Newman, S. H., Elbin, S., Jeitner, C. 2010. Metals in Feathers of Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Chicks from the New York Harbor Estuary. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 59: 157-165.
  • Burger, Joanna. 2009. Perceptions of the risks and benefits of fish consumption: individual choices to reduce risk and increase health benefits. Environmental Research. 109(3): 343-349.
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld M., Jenkins C.D., and F. Lesser. 2010. Effects of approaching boats on nesting Black Skimmers: Distances to establish protective buffer zones. Journal of Wildlife Management 74 (1): 102-108.
  • Burger, J. and Gochfeld M. 2010. Public Perceptions of Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Resources that Require Restoration. J Toxicol Environ Health. 73(19): 1325-1336.
  • Burger, Joanna. (2011). Biological Assessment for Radionuclide Levels in Biota and Ecosystems. In: Radioactivity Assessment. Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: OUTPUTS: The Barnegat Bay project has several prongs, including: 1)understanding population dynamics of coastal birds, 2) tracking levels of HG, CD, and PB in birds and fish, 3) determining the risk from hg and other metals to fish, birds and to humans 4) Perceptions of natural resources and damage to those resources from contaminants. All of these are topics of great interest to scientists, governmental agencies, and the public. ACTIVITIES: 1. Conduct regular surveys of numbers of birds in Barnegat Bay 2. Collect and analyze levels of HG, PB and CD in feathers and eggs of birds, and in muscle of fish 3. Collect and analyze data on Pine snake numbers and hibernation use 4. Conducted surveys of fisherman and other recreationist in Barnegat Bay & Raritan Bay to understand perceptions about NJ's natural resources. EVENTS 1. Presented talks at NJ Coastal Anglers Association 2. Presented talks on the science at American Ornithological Union Meetings, and at the international Waterbirds Conference. SERVICE The data we generate is distributed , and used by several different types of stakeholders. 1. Information on population dynamics of colonial birds is distributed to the NJDEP (ENSP), to the relevant coastal cities, and to local conservationists who also are engaged in protection. 2. Our data on shorebird use at Delaware Bay and elsewhere is being used by the federal recovery programs to decide how to manage shorebirds. 3. Information on levels of HG, CD and PB is also being used by NJDEP as an indicator of environmental quality. 4. Information on HG and SE levels in salt water fish is being disseminated to the public via the NJ Coastal Anglers Association. 5. The information on the effects of human disturbance on Black Skimmers will be used by NJDEP to set buffers around breeding colonies to ensure protection of these endangered species PRODUCTS 1. Publications 2. Database on metal levels in eggs and birds of colonial birds 3. Database on metal levels in recreational salt water fish 4.Database on perception. PARTICIPANTS: PARTICIPANTS: Graduate Students: Chris Jeitner and Sheila Shukla. Undergraduate Students: Cristine Chin, Erica Mueller, Mark Donio, Delia Champa. PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS:The following organizations collaborated with this project:NJ COASTAL ANGLERS ASSOCIATION AND NJ SHARK ANGLERS ASSOCIATION: fish consumption patterns, and chemical analysis of fish. NJ AUDUBON: Metal analysis of bird feathers to help determine contamination in the Meadowlands.NIEHS Center of Excellence: This work was collaborative with this center. NJDEP: the work on Black Skimmers and colonial birds in Barnegat bay was in collaboration with the Endangered and NonGame Species Council. TARGET AUDIENCES: TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for the Barnegat Bay work is the scientific community, ecologists, wildlife managers, state regulators, health professionals, and the public. The information on contaminants in bird eggs is being used as an indicator of trends in HG contamination along the east coast. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The Major change in approach is to highlight the human dimensions of the work in Barnegat Bay. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
IMPACT: The main goal of the project is to understand the factors that affect reproductive success in colonially nesting birds in Barnegat Bay. These factors include physical (global warming and sea level rise), biological (competition with invasive species), and anthropogenic (human disturbance and contaminants). We have continued our contaminant work, examining long term trends in levels of mercury, cadmium and lead, and find that mercury levels have either remained the same or increased (depending upon the bird species). This information is extremely important because it is the only long-term data set of its kind in the US, and it clearly demonstrates that NJ and other eastern coast states need to worry about atmospheric deposition. Further, it has large-scale implications for people eating marine fish, another part of this project. On the human disturbance front, we undertook a study on the effects of boats on Black Skimmers, an endangered species in New Jersey. Our objective is to determine the buffer distance that needs to be established around breeding colonies to protect them. We just completed a three year study examining these distances under different conditions, and are writing it up for publication, with state officials. Understanding approach distances, and the distance that will ensure healthy populations has become a national priority, and we are only just beginning to understand the problem. We found that, contrary to intuition, the approach distances are lowest at hatching when the chicks are most vulnerable. The parents seem to be responding to the needs of the chicks to be brooded (protected from the hot sun), rather than protected from approaching humans. Further, the approach distances are great in the early reproductive cycle, when they are just setting up territories. That is, people in boats have the greatest influence early when the birds are just beginning to set up territories. It is during this time that the require protection, legally. This information will be used to by the state to establish guidelines and buffer zones, along with enforcement. An additional project, part of the estuarine ecosystem deals with Pine Snakes in the Pine Barrens. We have been investigating the effects of people on hibernation behavior. Pine Snakes are a threatened species, and depend on having little human disturbance in these places. Yet we find that off road vehicles are having an adverse effect on both reproductive success and recruitment into the population. These two factors will lead to understanding population dynamics in reptiles in general, a little understood field.

Publications

  • Burger, J. (2008). Assessment and management of risk to wildlife from cadmium. Science of the Total Environment, 389, 37-45.
  • Burger, J., Greenberg, M., Gochfeld, M., Shukla, S., Lowrie, K., Keren, R. (2008). Factors influencing acquisition of ecological and exposure information about hazards and risks from contaminated sites. Environmental Monitoring Assessment, 137: 413-425.
  • Tsipoura, N., Burger, J., Feltes, R., Yacabucci, J., Mizrahi, D., Jeitner, C., Gochfeld, M. (2008). Metal concentrations in three species of passerine birds breeding in the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey. Environmental Research 107: 218-228.
  • Burger, J. (2008). Fishing, fish consumption, and awareness about warnings in a university community in central New Jersey in 2007, and comparisons with 2004. Environmental Research 108: 107-116.
  • Burger, J. (2008). Perceptions as Indicators of Potential Risk from Fish Consumption and health of Fish Populations. Environmental Bioindicators 3: 90-105.


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Barnegat Bay project has several prongs, including: 1)understanding population dynamics of coastal birds, 2) tracking levels of mercury, cadmium, and lead in birds and in fish, 3) determining the risk from mercury and other metals to fish, birds and to humans. All of these are topics of great interest to scientists, governmental agencies, and the public. ACTIVITIES: 1. Conduct regular surveys of numbers of birds in Barnegat Bay 2. Collect and analyze levels of mercury, lead and cadmium in feathers and eggs of birds, and in muscle of fish 3. Collect and analyze data on Pine snake numbers and hibernation use. EVENTS 1. Presented talks at Barnegat Bay Festival 2. Presented talks at New Jersey Coastal Anglers Association 3. Presented talks on the science at American Ornithological Union Meetings, and at the international Waterbirds Conference. SERVICE The data we generate is distributed a number of ways, and is used by several different types of stakeholders. 1. Information on population dynamics of colonial birds is distributed to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (Endangered and nongame Species Program), to the relevant coastal cities (who manage these areas), and to local conservationists who also are engaged in protection. It is our data that is used to track the population size of several state endangered species, and to be used in management. 2. Our data on shorebird use at Delaware Bay and elsewhere is being used by the federal recovery programs to decide how to manage shorebirds. 3. Information on levels of mercury, cadmium and lead is also being used by NJDEP as an indicator of environmental quality. This information is also of use to scientists in understanding metal dynamics is coastal systems. 4. Information on mercury and selenium levels in salt water fish (recreational fish) is being disseminated to the public via the New Jersey Coastal Anglers Association. Our work is partly funded by this organization, and we regularly attend meetings to present and discuss our findings, and this information is then taken back to different NJ coastal angler clubs. This project is entirely stakeholder driven, and we address issues of concern to the fishermen and their families 5. The information on the effects of human disturbance on Black Skimmers will be used by NJDEP to set buffers around breeding colonies to ensure protection of these endangered species. 6. The information on the effects of off road vehicles on Pine Snakes is being used by the NJ Dept. of Parks to enforce regulations, and to put up barriers around sensitive Pine Snake hibernation sites. However, having data to show the effects of off-road vehicles was essential to being able to develop these regulations. PRODUCTS 1. Publications 2. Database on metal levels in eggs and birds of colonial birds 3. Database on metal levels in recreational salt water fish PARTICIPANTS: PARTICIPANTS: Graduate Students: Chris Jeitner and Sheila Shukla. Undergraduate Students: Harmony Liff, Cristin Chin, Erica Mueller, Mark Donio, Kevin Oh. All of these students participated in censusing, collecting data on behavioral responses of Black Skimmers to human disturbance, collected feathers and eggs for metal analysis, collected recreational fish for analysis, interviewed fishermen and others for consumption patterns, interviewed the general public on attitudes toward ecological resources and what resources should be restored if injured, dissected tissues in the laboratory for chemical analysis, digested samples and ran chemical analyses. PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS:The following organizations collaborated with this project:NEW JERSEY COASTAL ANGLERS ASSOCIATION: fish consumption patterns, and chemical analysis of fish. NEW JERSEY AUDUBON: Metal analysis of bird feathers to help determine contamination in the Meadowlands.NIEHS Center of Excellence: This work was collaborative with this center. NJDEP: the work on Black Skimmers and colonial birds in Barnegat bay was in collaboration with the Endangered and NonGame Species Council. Two additional graduate students are working with Piping Plover, a federally endangered species under my direction. DUKE FARMS: The work with butterflies was in collaboration with restoration of habitat at Duke Farms. Some of their personnel are being trained by us with respect to butterfly habitat restoration. TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for the Barnegat Bay work is the scientific community, ecologists, wildlife managers, state regulators, health professionals, and the public. The information on mercury levels in fish is of particular interest to the anglers of New Jersey, and because this information is not available for other states, it is also being used by other nearby states. It is also being used indirectly by states farther as a baseline for their own contamination data. The information on contaminants in bird eggs is being used as an indicator of trends in mercury contamination along the east coast. It is essential to build databases that can be used to assess status and trends of key environmental indicators of human and ecological health, and this project is developing such indicators. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The Major change in approach is to highlight the human dimensions of the work in Barnegat Bay. That is, we are not just looking at the physical and biological factors that affect reproductive success and population dynamics, but the human dimensions as well. Additionally, we are examining human attitudes toward resource protection and environmental management. it is increasingly clear that we will not move forward with environmental protection, management and restoration without the support of the general public. Thus, understanding perceptions is an important part of environmental studies.

Impacts
The main goal of the project is to understand the factors that affect reproductive success in colonially nesting birds in Barnegat Bay. These factors include physical (global warming and sea level rise), biological (competition with invasive species), and anthropogenic (human disturbance and contaminants). We have continued our contaminant work, examining long term trends in levels of mercury, cadmium and lead, and find that mercury levels have either remained the same or increased (depending upon the bird species). This information is extremely important because it is the only long-term data set of its kind in the US, and it clearly demonstrates that NJ and other eastern coast states need to worry about atmospheric deposition. Further, it has large-scale implications for people eating marine fish, another part of this project. On the human disturbance front, we undertook a study on the effects of boats on Black Skimmers, an endangered species in New Jersey. Our objective is to determine the buffer distance that needs to be established around breeding colonies to protect them. We just completed a three year study examining these distances under different conditions, and are writing it up for publication, with state officials. Understanding approach distances, and the distance that will ensure healthy populations has become a national priority, and we are only just beginning to understand the problem. We found that, contrary to intuition, the approach distances are lowest at hatching when the chicks are most vulnerable. The parents seem to be responding to the needs of the chicks to be brooded (protected from the hot sun), rather than protected from approaching humans. Further, the approach distances are great in the early reproductive cycle, when they are just setting up territories. That is, people in boats have the greatest influence early when the birds are just beginning to set up territories. It is during this time that the require protection, legally. This information will be used to by the state to establish guidelines and buffer zones, along with enforcement. An additional project, part of the estuarine ecosystem deals with Pine Snakes in the Pine Barrens. We have been investigating the effects of people on hibernation behavior. Pine Snakes are a threatened species, and depend on having little human disturbance in these places. Yet we find that off road vehicles are having an adverse effect on both reproductive success and recruitment into the population. These two factors will lead to understanding population dynamics in reptiles in general, a little understood field.

Publications

  • Burger, J. (2007). A Framework for Analysis of Contamination on Human and Ecological Receptors at DOE Hazardous Waste Site Buffer Lands. Remediation, 71-96.
  • Burger, J. (2007). The behavioral response of emerging pine snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus) to people: implications for survival and protection. Urban Ecosystems, 10, 193-201.
  • Burger, J. (2007). A framework and methods for incorporating gender-related issues in wildlife risk assessment: Gender-related differences in metal levels and other contaminants as a case study. Environmental Research, 104, 153-162.
  • Burger, J., Fossi, C., McClellan-Green, P., Orlando, E.F. (2007). Methodologies, bioindicators, and biomarkers for assessing gender-related differences in wildlife exposed to environmental chemicals. Environmental Research, 104, 135-152.
  • Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Gray, M., Shukla, T., Shukla, S., Burke, S. (2007). Kelp as a Bioindicator: Does it Matter Which Part of 5 M Long Plant is Used for Metal Analysis? Environmental Monitoring Assessment, 128, 311-321.
  • Burger, J. (2007). The Effect on Ecological Systems of Remediation to Protect Human Health. American Journal of Public Health, 97(9), 1572-1578.
  • Burger, J., Zappalorti, R.T., Gochfeld, M., and DeVito, E. (2007). Effects of off-road vehicles on reproductive success of pine snakes (Pituophus Melanoleucus) in the New Jersey pinelands. Urban Ecosystems, 10, 275-284.
  • Burger, J., Carlucci, S.A., Jeitner, C.W., and Niles, L. (2007). Habitat Choice, Disturbance, and Management of Foraging Shorebirds and Gulls at a Migratory Stopover. Journal of Coastal Research, 23(5), 1159-1166.


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
Overall objectives for the past year included: 1) understanding the continued colony dynamics of colonial birds in New Jersey, 2) understanding contaminants in fish that colonial birds and other receptors (such as people) eat, and developing the colonial birds as bioindicators of environmental contamination. Understanding the continued population dynamics of colonially nesting birds meant assessing the numbers and reproductive success of several colonial species. These data have been gathered for 30 years, and represent the longest running such data set in the country. Additionally, these data are being used as indicators by the state DEP, and will be used in the future to assess overall health and well-being of our state. From a research perspective, the data are useful in understanding colony dynamics, how birds select colony sites, and how they move as a function of environmental conditions, such as sea level rise. This work was presented in two symposia at scientific meetings. Understanding the contaminants in fish has involved collecting fish of different species and different sizes, ranging from the small fish eaten by young birds to much larger ones eaten as carrion by herring gulls and by people who fish for them. This research area is of extreme importance to the state of New Jersey because it impacts both the health and well-being of our coastal environments, as well and the health and safety of our human populations. A side project with this work has been examining the effects of lead on herring gulls, as models for these effects on a range of other birds and mammals in New Jersey. Our overall interest is in understanding the use of bioindicators to measure and assess the status and trends of environmental health. We reviewed the literature to understand what has been done, and suggested how bioindicators could be used in management and research. Increasingly government, scientists, managers, and the public are interested in assessing the health and well-being of ecosystems and their component parts, including humans. Initially ecologists concentrated on assessing condition, reproductive success and survival of a wide range of individual species, but this approach quickly broadened to include the health of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes, as well as the human dimension. Indicators can be developed using attributes of species or groups of species, ecosystem processes, and ecological services. Bioindicators can be developed for ecosystem health assessment, for human effects and interventions, human health assessment, and for evaluating sustainability. The usefulness of indicators is enhanced if they can assess both ecological and human health, provide trends data, and be used to examine a wide range of stressors from natural to anthropogenic. I suggest that there are four main types of indicators, which are not mutually exclusive, including those that relate to 1) ecosystem health assessment, 2) human effects, 3) human interventions, and 4) human health and well-being.

Impacts
This research has three major impacts: 1) It provides information on the health and status of colonial waterbirds nesting in Barnegat Bay, 2) It provides information on contaminant levels in fish that impact the food chain, and ultimately in humans., and 3) It helps provide insights into what bioindicators have been used in the past to understand the health of ecosystems, how these can be used in research, and what they say about the health and well-being of New Jersey environments. Governmental agencies deal with the potential risk from consuming fish contaminated with toxic chemicals by issuing fish consumption advisories. Yet such advisories are often ignored by the general public, who continue to fish and consume self-caught fish that are the subject of advisories and are from contaminated waters. We proposed a more inclusive framework for examining consumption behavior of self-caught fish, and identify information needs for effective communication. We include attitudes (trust, risk aversion, environmental concerns), behavior (sources of information, cultural mores, personal preferences), exposure (physical proximity, ingestion rates, bioavailability, target tissues), contaminant levels, individual host differences, and hazards (levels of contaminants). We suggest that attitudes and behavior shape risk as much as exposure and hazards, and that all four of these factors must be considered in risk management. Understanding risk to individual consumers involves integrating this range of factors, and managing the risk likewise involves incorporating these factors.

Publications

  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. (2006) A framework and information needs for the management of the risks from consumption of self-caught fish. Environmental Research 101, 275-285.
  • Burger, J. (2006). Bioindicators: A Review of Their Use in the Environmental Literature 1970-2005. Environmental Bioindicators, 1:136-144.
  • Burger, J. (2006). Bioindicators: Types, Development, and Use in Ecological Assessment and Research. Environmental Bioindicators, 1: 22-39.
  • Burger, J. & Greenberg, Michael. (2006). Ethnic differences in ecological concerns: Spanish-speaking Hispanics are more concerned than others. Environmental Research, 102: 36-45.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
In 2005 we completed work on: 1) the effects of human activities on migrant shorebirds in relation to management, 2) the effects of lead on behavioral development in herring gulls, 3) Fish consumption advisories and their relationship to several NJ coastal bays, and 4) the relationship between knowledge and compliance with fish consumption advisories. The foundation of this work is that human disturbance affects reproductive success, and that contaminants affect the behavior of all organisms in an ecosystem such as Barnegat Bay. Human disturbance continues to be a problem for birds breeding and foraging in New Jersey. The effect of human disturbance on migrant birds is a conservation issue of international importance, as is determining if disruption has long term population effects. Disruptions can occur during migration, wintering, breeding and foraging. Thousands of shorebirds migrate through Delaware Bay in a three week period each spring; this is the largest concentration of shorebirds in the continental USA. Data available on shorebird/human interactions at a migratory stopover over a 20 year period was used to describe the interactions of shorebirds and people from 1982 to 2002 and examine trends in human disruptions and shorebird behaviour during this time. The rate of disruptions caused by people increased during the 1980s, declined slightly by the early 1990s, and declined sharply by 2002. The decline in human activity along the beach was directly related to the conservation efforts of the NJDEP, New Jersey Audubon, and others interested in preserving the shorebirds. This research continued to examine the effects of lead and other contaminants on the behavior of colonial nesting birds, using herring gulls as a model. Lead is one of the most common metals in contaminated ecosystems. Doses used in these studies conducted in the laboratory and in nature were sufficient to produce lead concentrations in feathers that were equivalent to those found in gulls living in the wild.We examined walking, begging, feeding, behavioral thermoregulation, individual recognition, and treadmill learning. There were significant differences between control and lead exposed gulls chicks on all testing days. Learning, as well as improvement of motor skills, was faster for control chicks than lead-injected chicks for the thermoregulatory test, individual recognition, and behavior on a treadmill. Lead-injected chicks improved faster than control chicks only for walking scores. Understanding the knowledge base for the public that will make informed decisions about both their own behavior and that of the state generally is a critical area of research. In 2005 we continued to examine the knowledge and understanding of students about environmental problems, including contaminants in their environment. We focused on contaminants in fish and on fish consumption as a problem that is relevant to their lives. A far greater percent of people had heard something about the risks and benefits of eating fish than could report specific information about the risks or benefits.

Impacts
There are several management implications of our work which include: 1. Continued monitoring of human disturbance on shorebirds stopping over during migration on Delaware Bay. Our data show that management is effective in influencing foraging behavior during this critical period. 2. Continued monitoring of contaminants in birds in Barnegat Bay is required because the levels of mercury are apparently going up, perhaps due to de-regulation of the power industry. In any case, terns are being used as a bioindicator of environmental levels, particularly of mercury. Our study of metal levels in common terns, spanning more than 30 years, is the longest running study of its kind with colonial birds. 3. Experimental studies, using herring gulls as models, have indicated the effects of lead on behavioral development, suggesting that contaminants can be contributory to decreased reproductive success. 4. Understanding of the knowledge base of people, particularly students that are the decision-makers of tomorrow, is critical to stakeholder-driven decisions. Our work is forming the basis for understanding of this critical knowledge base, and finally 5) our continued work with Personal Watercraft Effects on colonial birds nesting in Barnegat Bay is forming the basis for regulations and laws about where and when PWCs can be used. Our data helped contribute to the need for licensing of PWC operators, and the environmental information to include in such courses.

Publications

  • Burger, J and M. Gochfeld. 2005. Heavy metals in commercial fish in New Jersey. Environmental Research. 99:3:403-412.
  • Burger, J and M. Gochfeld. 2005. Effects of Lead on Learning in Herring Gulls: An Avian Wildlife Model for Neurobehavioral Deficits. NeuroToxicology. 26:4:615-624.
  • Burger, J. 2005. Fishing, fish consumption, and knowledge about advisories in college students and others in central New Jersey. Environmental Research. 98:2:268-275. Gochfeld, M. and Burger, J. 2005. Good Fish/badfish: A Composite Benefit-Risk by Dose Curve. Neurotoxicology. 26:511-520
  • Burger, J. 2005. Fishing, fish consumption, and knowledge about advisories in college students and others in central New Jersey. Environmental Research. 98:2: 268-275.
  • Chess, C, J. Burger, and M.H. McDermott. 2005. Policy Review and Essays - Speaking Like a State: Environmental Justice and Fish Consumption Advisories. Society and Nat Res. 18:267-278.
  • Burger, J. A. Stern and M. Gochfeld. 2005. Mercury in Commercial Fish: Optimizing Individual Choices to Reduce Risk. Environmental Health Perspectives. 113 (3) 266-271.
  • Burger, J. 2005. Fishing, fish consumption, and knowledge about advisories in college students and others in central New Jersey. Environmental Research. 98: 268-275.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
In 2004 we completed work on temporal trends in metals in Common Terns, continued work with the effects of lead on behavioral development in gulls, and work on metals in fish people eat. Managers and public policy makers require information on the status of and trends in contaminant levels in organisms to assess ecosystem health. Seabirds are excellent bioindicators because they are long-lived, feed at different trophic levels, and are at the top of the food chain, and many are abundant and widely distributed. They can reveal spatial or temporal trends in contaminant levels. We examine temporal trends in the levels of cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, and selenium in eggs from common terns (Sterna hirundo) nesting on several salt marsh islands in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. The eggs of Barnegat Bay common terns show a decline in levels of cadmium, chromium, and lead. The data indicate that common terns can serve as useful bioindicators of temporal trends in exposure and that some of the metals of concern in estuarine environments (lead, cadmium) have declined over the past 30 years, although mercury levels are higher than in the early 1980s. We also studied the use of young herring gulls, Larus argentatus, to examine the effect of lead and exercise on endurance, performance, and learning on a treadmill. Herring gull chicks were randomly assigned to either a control group or a lead treatment group that received a single dose of lead acetate solution (100 mg/kg) at day 2. Half of the lead treatment group and half of the control group were randomly assigned to an exercise regime of walking on a treadmill twice each day. The other group remained in their cages. We found significant differences as a function of lead, exercise, and their interaction. For all measures of behavior and endurance, lead had the greatest contribution to accounting for variability. In general, lead-treated birds showed better performance improvement from the daily exercise than did controlled non-lead birds, withrespect to endurance and learning. We suggest that in nature, exercise can improve performance of lead-exposed birds. There is considerable interest in fish consumption, contaminant loads in edible fish, and the risk from consuming fish. Both the benefits and the risks from eating fish are publicized. Most of this attention has focused on recreational anglers and self-caught fish, although the vast majority of fish that people eat are purchased from commercial sources: fish markets and supermarkets. We examined the availability of fish in supermarkets and specialty fish markets in New Jersey, including three regions of the state in communities with high and low per capita incomes (upscale vs. downscale neighborhoods). We were particularly interested in examining whether consumers could determine what type of fish they were buying and whether it was farm-raised or wild. In most cases, labels gave only a fish name and price. Consumers would be able to make more informed choices if the provenance of fish was clearly stated.

Impacts
There are several management and policy implications of our research, which include: 1. Continued monitoring of contaminants in terms as in indicator of ecosystem health, tern health, and potential impacts of people since terns eat the same prey fish as our food fish eat (such as Bluefish). 2. If mercury goes up, it may indicate an increase in global mercury from coal-fire burning of plants from the mid-west, which has enormous implications for regulations. 3. The PWC work indicates that voluntary restrictions on PWC activities around bird nesting islands does not work, and that the legally-established exclusionary zones should be continued. This has implications for state regulations. Our work on PWCs effect on nesting Common Terns has been used throughout the nation to establish guidelines to protect nesting birds of all kinds, including ducks, gulls, terns, herons, and many others. 4. Our work on environmental attitudes of residents living around bays and estuaries has led to a greater understanding of how people value the ecological resources provided by estuaries.

Publications

  • Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 2004. Effects of Lead and Exercise on Endurance and Learning in Young Herring Gulls. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 57:136-144.
  • Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 2004. Metal levels in eggs of common terns (Sterna hirundo) in New Jersey: temporal trends from 1971 to 2002. Environmental Research. 94:3:336-343.
  • Burger, J. , C. Jeitner, H. Jensen, M. Fitzgerald, S. Carlucci, S. Shukla, S. Burke, R. Ramos, and M. Gochfeld. 2004. Habitat use in basking Northern water (Nerodia sipedon) and Eastern garter (Thamnophis sirtalis) snakes in urban New Jersey. Urban Ecosystems.7:17 27.
  • Burger, J., and M. Gochfeld. 2004. Mercury in canned tuna: white versus light and temporal variation. Environmental Research. 96:239-249.
  • Burger, J. A. H. Stern, C. Dixon, C. Jeitner, S. Shukla, S. Burke and M. Gochfeld. 2004. Fish availability in supermarkets & fish markets in New Jersey. Science of The Total Environment. 333:1-3:89-97.
  • Burger, J. 2004. Fish Consumption Advisories: Knowledge, Compliance and Why People Fish in an Urban Estuary. J. of Risk Research. 7 (5) 463-479.
  • Carletta, M.A., K.Lowrie, K.T.Miller, M.Greenberg and J. Burger 2004. Guidance for determining the best disposition of large tracts of decommissioned land. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 47:2:243-268..


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
Colonial seabirds are excellent bioindicators of ecological stress because they respond rapidly, are easy to see, and are sensitive to change. In this study I use them to assess many different kinds of stresses: habitat loss, human interactions, and contaminants. All of these interact and have the potential to lower reproductive success, with associated changes in population levels. Further, they are of interest to people, and can be integrated into stakeholder-driven research on ecological values. Our studies of population dynamics and colony site stability have continued since 1976. Over this time there have been numerous changes, but the greatest one is in a consolidation of colonies. In the late 1970s there were over 30 colony sites where Common Terns nested in Barnegat Bay, and now there are usually only 12-15. This represents a loss of habitat (due mainly to gulls and sea level rise), and the potential for greater reproductive losses because more birds are located in fewer colonies. These studies will continue to try and understand how to diversify colony use. Seabirds are good indicators of metals because they feed at different trophic levels, including as top level piscivores, they are long-lived, and many are abundant and widely distributed. We examined the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in eggs from common terns (Sterna hirundo) nesting on five salt marsh islands in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey from 2000 to 2002. There were significant locational differences in all metals in some years, although the differences were not large. The data thus suggest that birds in some areas of the bay are exposed to higher levels in their prey fish, and we will continue to investigate this. Our third area of research involves examining the effects of people on reproductive success and colony locations. The effects of motorboats and personal watercraft (PWC) on common terns (Sterna hirundo) nesting on Mike's Island were examined. Prior to any targeted management, I examined the behavior of nesting Common Terns as a function of exposure to PWC and other boats. The number of terns that flew up in response to PWCs was greater than to motorboats; boats that raced or were outside the established channel elicited the strongest response. An educational and enforcement campaign was initiated in 1998, which reduced PWC traffic around the nesting islands, and most PWC operators reduced their speed. Two years later, when active enforcement declined, the number of PWCs going past the island increased. PWCs continued to run outside of the established channels, and over the four year period, a significant number of nesting terns moved from nesting on the side of the island away from the channel to the middle of the island. Birds respond adversely to the presence of PWCs by increased upflights, eventually abandoning nesting habitat. Without continued education and enforcement, operators of PWCs revert to behavior (racing, running outside the channel) that disturbs nesting birds. Finally, we have been working on the attitudes of the public about the resources that estuaries and bays provide to their health and well-being.

Impacts
There are several management and policy implications of our research, which include: 1. Continued monitoring of contaminants in terms as in indicator of ecosystem health, tern health, and potential impacts of people since terns eat the same prey fish as our food fish eat (such as Bluefish). 2. If mercury goes up, it may indicate an increase in global mercury from coal-fire burning of plants from the mid-west, which has enormous implications for regulations. 3. The PWC work indicates that voluntary restrictions on PWC activities around bird nesting islands does not work, and that the legally-established exclusionary zones should be continued. This has implications for state regulations. Our work on PWCs effect on nesting Common Terns has been used throughout the nation to establish guidelines to protect nesting birds of all kinds, including ducks, gulls, terns, herons, and many others. 4. Our work on environmental attitudes of residents living around bays and estuaries has led to a greater understanding of how people value the ecological resources provided by estuaries.

Publications

  • Burger, J. B.B. Johnson, S. Shukla, and M. Gochfeld. 2003. Perceptions of Recreational Fishing Boat Captains: Knowledge and Effects of Fish Consumption Advisories. Risk Analysis. 23:2:369-377.
  • Burger, J. Personal Watercraft and Boats: Coastal Conflicts with Common Terns. 2003. Lake and Reservoir Management. 19:1:26-34.
  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 2003. Lead in Young Herring Gulls Paradoxical effects of exercise on Tissue Concentrations. J. of Tox and Environ Health. 66:181-197.
  • Peakall, D., and J. Burger. 2003. Methodologies for Assessing Exposure to Metals: Speciation, Bioavailability of Metals, and Ecological Host Factors. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 56:1:110-121.
  • Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 2003. Spatial and Temporal patterns in Metal Levels in Eggs of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) in New Jersey. The Science of the Total Environment. 331:91-100.
  • Burger, J. 2003. Perceptions about Environmental Use and Future Restoration of an Urban Esturary.Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 46:3:399-416.
  • Burger, J., F. Diaz-Barriga, E. Marafante, J. Pounds and M. Robson.. 2003. Methodologies to Examine the Importance of Host Factors in Bioavailability of Metals. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 56:1:20-31.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
Managers and public policy makers require information on the status and trends in contaminant levels in organisms to assess ecosystem health. Seabirds are excellent bioindicators because they are long-lived, feed at different trophic levels, are often top-level carnivores, and many are abundant and widely distributed. They can reveal spatial or temporal trends in contaminant levels. In this report we examine temporal trends in the levels of cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury and selenium in eggs from common terns (Sterna hirundo) nesting on several salt marsh islands in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. We test the null hypothesis that there are no temporal differences in levels of cadmium, lead, mercury from 1971 to 2002, and in chromium, manganese and selenium from 1992 to 2002. Arsenic was also analyzed in recent years. Levels were highest for manganese, followed by selenium, mercury, lead, chromium, arsenic and cadmium. The eggs of Barnegat Bay common terns show a decline in levels of cadmium, chromium, and lead. Mercury declined from 1971 to 1982, increased dramatically in 1999, and declined thereafter. Manganese, an essential element, showed a decline (except for 2001), and selenium declined initially, but then remained stable.

Impacts
The data indicate that common terns can serve as useful bioindicators of temporal trends in contaminant exposure, and that some of the metals of concern in estuarine environments (lead, cadmium) have declined over the last thirty years, although mercury levels are higher than in the early 1980s, and the spike in 1999 is unexplained.

Publications

  • Burger, J. 2002. Metals in Tissues of Diamondback Terrapin from New Jersey. Environ. Monit. and Assesmnt. 77:255-263.
  • Burger, J. 2002. "Food Chain Differences Affect Heavy Metals in Bird Eggs in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey." Environmental Research. 90:33-39.
  • Burger, J. 2002. "Effects of Motorboats and Personal Watercraft on Nesting Terns: Conflict Resolution and the Need for Vigilance." J. of Coastal Research. 37: 7-17.


Progress 01/01/01 to 12/31/01

Outputs
Progress Report The overall objectives of this project are to understand the ecology, behavior, population dynamics and toxicology of birds nesting in Barnegat Bay. A second objective is to examine the effect of personal watercraft on nesting terns. A third objective is to examine how people view the resources of Barnegat Bay. This entails understanding how people use the bay, how they value the resources, and what changes they have observed over the years. Several species of birds nest in Barnegat Bay, and we have been following population size and colony dynamics over the last 25 years to understand nest site selection, reproductive success, and long-term use of the same salt marsh islands. Over this period, there have been changes brought about by global warming, and by people. Mainly there has been a shift in the number of colonies, birds are concentrating in only a few colonies. This has been augmented by an increase in herring gulls on many islands. The herring gulls have forced other smaller species from their traditional nesting islands, thus contributing to the overall decline in species. The data we are gathering in Barnegat Bay examines the effect of personal watercraft on nesting terns in light of various management options. We found that without any regulations, PWCs were negatively impacting Common Terns, a state endangered species. We have continued the study to determine whether different management practices can reduce the impact. Our data indicates that there is overall agreement about the problems in the Bay among fishermen, shop owners, and public officials. Overall, they believe that personal watercraft are a considerable problem, followed by pollution of the water. These views have not changed significantly over the last 5 years.

Impacts
Expected Impact This research has implications for the management of birds in Barnegat Bay. Two of the species I study, Common Terns and Black Skimmers, are either endangered or species of special concern. That means that the state is obligated to track their populations and reproductive success, and manage them so that these populations remain stable or increase. The data we gather is essential to this mission, and is the only data gathered on these species in Barnegat Bay. Part of their management practices involve managing or regulating personal watercraft so that the effect on wildlife is minimized. My data has been used to set regulations for the Bay with respect to personal watercraft, and continued monitoring is essential to track the efficacy of these practices. Monitoring heavy metals is essential in order to determine whether the birds are at risk, and whether measures must be undertaken to reduce the contaminant load. This monitoring data is used by the state in their indicators program. It is also important to establish national and global patterns of metal contamination.

Publications

  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 2001. On developing bioindicators for human and ecological health. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 66:23-46.
  • Burger, J., C. D. Jenkins, Jr., F. Lesser and M. Gochfeld. 2001. Status and Trends of Colonially-Nesting Birds in Barnegat Bay. J. of Coastal Research. 32:197-211.
  • Palestis, B and J. Burger. 2001. Development of Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Sibling Recognition in the Field. Bird Behavior. 14(2):75-80.
  • Palestis, B., and J. Burger. 2001. The Effect of Siblings on Nest Site Homing by Common Tern Chicks: A Benefit of Kin Selection. Waterbirds. 24:(2)175-181.


Progress 01/01/99 to 12/31/99

Outputs
The overall objective of this research is to examine the biological and anthropgenic factors that affect avian populations in Barnegat Bay, the New York Bight, and to compare these to the Atlantic Coast. This includes: 1) examination of numbers of birds nesting in each colony by species and colony location, 2) examination of reproductive success by species and colonies, 3) determination of factors affecting reproductive success, and 4) examination of contaminant loads in birds from Barnegat Bay to compare with other locations in the world. My overall objective was to census the number of birds, nests, eggs, and young on each colony on a regular basis, to collect tissues (eggs, feathers, and other tissues) for heavy metal metal analysis, and to examine the effect of human disturbance on bird colonies. Thus Colonies were checked regularly, factors affecting success (predators, people, flood tides) were noted, and heavy metals in tissues were are analyzed in the laboratory. Birds can be useful as indicators of: the state of the estuary, the health of fish populations (since the birds depend on fish), and ultimately, as surrogates for human exposure. This is part of a long term project to understand how human forces and chemical affect ecosystem processes. An additional part of the project is to understand how people use these ecological resources, including the fish and birds of the system. This involves interviewing fishermen and others to understand their ranking of problems with Barnegat Bay, changes in the Bay, and their understanding of the ecological functioning of the bay.

Impacts
New Jersey is very depended on fishing, both commercial and recreational, and this project contributes to understanding these factors. It is very important to have bioindicators that can be used as sentinels for health of ecosystems. it's important to use birds; they do this for us by sampling fish throughout the season. By using young birds, we obtain a measure of contamination obtained from the immediate vicinity.

Publications

  • Snodgrass, J. W., J. W. Ackerman, A. L. Bryan, Jr., And J. Burger. 1999. Influence of Hydroperiod, Isolation and Heterospecifics on the Distribution of Aquatic Salamanders (Siren and Amphiuma) Among Depression Wetlands. Copeia 1999 107-113.
  • Ostrom, E., J. Burger, C. B. Field, R. B. Norgaard, D. Policansky, 1999. Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges. SCIENCE. 284:278-282.
  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 1999. Heavy Metals in Franklin's Gull Tissues: Age and Tissue Differences. Environ Tox. And Chem 18:673-678.
  • van der Schalie, William H., H. S. Gardner Jr, J. A. Bantle, C. T. De Rosa, R. A . Finch, J. S. Reif, R. H. Reuter, L. C. Backer, J. Burger, L. C. Folmar, W. S. Stokes. 1999. Animals as Sentinels of Human Health Hazards of Environmental Chemicals. Environmental Health Perspectives 107:309-315.
  • Tsipoura, N. and J. Burger, 1999. Shorebird Diet During Spring Migration Stop-Over on Delaware Bay. Condor. 101:635-644.
  • Tsipoura, N. C. G. Scanes, and J. Burger. 1999. Corticosterone and Growth Hormone Levels in Shorebirds during Spring and Fall Migration Stop-over. Journal of Experimental Zoology. 284:645-651.
  • Burger, J. 1999. Risk and Recreation: Differences due to Gender, Age and Education. Risk: Health, Safety and Environment. 10 Risk: Health, Safety and Environment 109 109-119.
  • Burger, J. J. Sanchez, M. McMahon, J. Leonard, C.G. Lord, R. Ramos, M. Gochfeld. 1999. Resources and Estuarine Health: Perceptions of Elected Officials and Recreational Fishers. J of Tox. & Environ. Health 58:245-260.
  • Pflugh, K.K.. L. Lurig, L. A. vonHagen, S. vonHagen and J. Burger. 1999. Urban angler's perception of risk from contaminated fish. Science of the Total Environment. 228:203-218.
  • Palestis, B.G. and J. Burger. 1999. Individual Sibling Recognition in Experimental Broods of Common Tern Chicks. Animal Behavior 58:375-381.


Progress 01/01/98 to 12/31/98

Outputs
The overall objective is to monitor the population dynamics and reproductive success of several species of colonial birds nesting in Barnegat Bay, and to understand the factors that contribute to changes in population dynamics. Barnegat Bay has traditionally had one of the most diverse and successful assemblages of birds nesting all along the Atlantic Coast of North America. However, these birds face many threats, including human disturbance, contaminants, competition from other species, increased predators, and loss of foraging space and prey due to global warming. We have been investigating how these factors interact during the past years. This included several projects: 1) understanding the role of people in affecting the population dynamics and success of birds (see Burger 1998a, 1998e), both through direct action and through habitat loss, 2) understanding the role of contaminants in species in the New York Bight (Gochfeld and Burger 1998a, 1998b), including Barnegat Bay (Burger 1998b), 3) examining the effect of oil spills on birds (Burger and Tsipoura 1998), 4) examining the effect of natural toxins on survival of young birds (Gochfeld and Burger 1998c), 5) examining the effects of personal watercraft on nesting terns (Burger 1998a), 6) experimentally determining the effect of lead on behavioral neurodevelopment in herring gulls (Burger1998b), Fiedler et al. 1998), 7) examining the effect of social behavior of common tern reproductive success (Palestis and Burger 1998), 8) understanding the role of estuarine health and safety on Barnegat Bay (see papers by Burger 1998c, 1998d, Burger et al. 1998), and finally, 9) developing ecological risk paradigms (Goldfeld and Burger 1998d). Overall this research is leading to the development of a comprehensive model that will aid our understanding of the multitude of factors that contribute to changing population dynamics and reproductive success of complex assemblages of seabirds. Another important aspect of this research is to understand how resources are managed as a commons (see paper by Burger and Gochfeld 1998), including how coastal resources are unique. The research is contributing to the development of a new way of managing a wide range of issues dealing with coastal resources, many of which have not been considered as commons resources in the past. This resulted in a symposium at the SCOPE international conference, held here at Rutgers (EOHSI), that is leading to the development of an edited volume. (Island Press).

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Burger, J. 1998b. Effects of Lead on Sibling Recognition in Young Herring Gulls. Tox Sci. 43:155-160.
  • Burger, J. 1998c. Gender differences in attitudes about fish safety in a coastal estuary. J. Environ. Health and Toxicol. 53:181-192.
  • Burger, J. 1998d. Attitudes about Recreation, Environmental Problems and Estuarine Health along the Jersey Shore. Environ. Manage. 22:869-876.
  • Burger, J. 1998e. Nesting in Birds. Pp 37-46 in Encyclopedia of Reproduction, Vol. 3. Academic Press, N.Y.
  • Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 1998. The Tragedy of the Commons. Environment. 40:(10)4-13, 27-28.
  • Burger, J., J. Sanchez and M. Gochfeld. 1998. Fishing, consumption, and risk perception in fisher-folk along an east coast estuary. Environ. Research. 77:25-35.
  • Burger, J. and N. Tsipoura. 1998. Experimental oiling of Sanderlings (Calidris alba): behavior and weight changes. Environ. Toxicol. Chemistry. 17:1154-1158.
  • Fiedler, N. J. Burger and M. Gochfeld. 1998. Neurobehavioural Toxicology pp 427-434 In Maxcy, Rosenau-Last: Public Health and Prevention Medicine (R. B. Wallace and Last, Eds.). Appleton and Large, Norwalk, Conn.
  • Gochfeld, M. and J. Burger. 1998b. Roseate Tern. In: Birds of North America. No. 370. 1998. (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.
  • Gochfeld, M. and J. Burger. 1998a. Temporal trends in heavy metal levels in eggs of the endangered Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii). Environ. Research. 77:36-42.
  • Gochfeld, M. and J. Burger. 1998c. Apparent paralytic poisoning in captive Herring Gulls fed scallops. Toxicon. 36:411-415.
  • Gochfeld, M. and J. Burger, 1998d. Environmental and Ecological Risk Assessment pp 435-441 In Maxcy, Rosenau-Last: Public Health ad Preventive Medicine (R. B. Wallace and Last, Eds.). Appleton and Large, Norwalk, Conn.
  • Plaestis, B. G. and J. Burger. 1998. Evidence for social facilitation of preening in the Common Tern. Anim. Behav. 56:1107-1111.
  • Burger, J. 1998a. Effects of Motorboats and Personal Watercraft on Flight Behavior over a Colony of Common Terns. Condor. 100:528-534.


Progress 01/01/97 to 12/31/97

Outputs
Many of the bird species in Barnegat Bay and along other coastal regions are decreasing. Some of these decreases may be due to global warming and associated sealevel rises. We have found that Forster's Terns and Common Terns require specific habitats for nesting, and that many of these are becoming less and less available with increasing water levels in the bay. Another potential factor affecting success is contaminants, and we are looking at levels of mercury and cadmium in the eggs and feathers of sensitive species: Black Skimmers, endangered in the state, seem to be accumulating heavy metals faster than other species. The relative role of heavy metals in affecting reproductive success and behavior is being investigated in laboratory studies on Herring Gulls. Some heavy metals, such as lead, appear to disrupt recognition of their parents, which leads to mortality when they wander into nearby territorities.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Burger, J., Sanchez, J., Gibbons, J.W. and Gochfeld, M. 1997. Risk perception, federal spending and the Savannah River SIte: Attitude of hunters and fisherman. Risk Anal. 17:313-320.---
  • Burger, J. 1997. Methods for and approaches to evaluation: Susceptibility of ecological systems to hazardous chemicals. Environ. Health Perspectives. 105:843-848.---
  • Burger, J., Clark, K.L., and Niles, L. 1997. Importance of beach, mudflat and marsh for migrant shorebirds on Delaware Bay. Biol. Cons.
  • Burger, J., Martin, M., Cooper, K., and Gochfeld, M. 1997. Attitudes toward environmental hazards. Where do toxics fit in? J. Environ. Health and Toxicol. 51:101-113.---
  • Burger, J. 1997. Effects of oiling on feeding behavior of Sanderlings (Calidris alba) and Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus) in New Jersey. Condor 99:290-298.---
  • Burger, J., Shukla, T., Benson, T., and Gochfeld, M. 1997. Lead levels in exposed Herring Gulls: Differnces in the field and laboratory. Toxicol. Indust. Health. 13:193-202.---
  • Burger, J., and Gochfeld, M. 1997. Heavy metal and selenium concentrations in feathers of Egrets from Bali and Sulauren, Indonesia. Arch. Environ. Cont. Toxicol. 32:217-221.---
  • Burger, J. 1997. Heavy metals and selenium in Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) nesting in colonies from Eastern Long Island to Virginia. Environ. Monit. Assess.---
  • Shealer, D.A., Floyd, T., and Burger, J. 1997. Host choice and success of gulls and terns kleptoparasitizing brown pelican. Anim.
  • Burger, J. and Gochfeld, M. 1997. Lead and neurobehavioural development in gulls: A model for understanding effects in the laboratory and the field. Neurotoxicology. 18:279-287.---
  • Burger, J. 1997. Heavy metals in eggs and muscle of Horseshoe Crabs (limulus polyphemus) from Delaware Bay. Environ. Mont. Assessment.
  • Burger, J. 1997. Recreation and risk: Potential exposure. J. Toxicol. and Environ. Health. 52:269-284.---