Saturday, 21 April 2012

DDT Linked to Long-Term Decline of Insect-Eating Birds in North America, Through Analysis of Bird Droppings

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — New research findings highlight how deposits of animal droppings are scientifically important for determining the impact of environmental change on threatened species.

Analysis of 50 years' bird droppings inside a large decommissioned chimney on Queen's campus provided evidence that DDT and bird diet may have played a role in a long-term decline for populations of insect-eating birds in North America. The chimney had been a roosting spot for chimney swifts.

"Certainly there are many other deposits in large chimneys around North America and elsewhere, forming important environmental time capsules," says biology professor and co-author John P. Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and previous winner of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist. "It may be a stinky job, but someone has to do it!"


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