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Herring Gull BioSentinal Sampling Program Cooperative Agreement

Principle Investigator: Judith Perlinger, Civil & Env. Eng.
Sponsor: Clemson University
Award Amount: $8,000
Project Duration: 8/1/2006-9/30/2008
MTU Reference Code: 060521


Clemson University
Michigan Technological University
Michigan State University

The purpose of the overal project is to develop a contaminant monitoring protocol for Michigan using herring gull (Larus Argentatus) eggs. The herring gull is a good indicator species to monitor trends in contaminatn concentrations because it is near the top of the food chain. It is also a good indicator species because the protocol for using herring gull eggs for monitoring trends in contaminant levels has already been established by the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). The CWS has been collecting herring gull eggs since the 1970s, so there is an extensive database currently available for contaminant levels in eggs. However, data are available for only two breeding areas in each of four of the Great Lakes with only one of theses sites in Michigan. The us of eggs is advantageous because peerr-reviewed papers are avbailable to determin No Observable Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) and Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Levels (LOAELs) for some contaminants in eggs.

IScope of Michigan Tech Work
Beginning Spring 2006, Michigan Tech personnel will collect gull eggs once annually as part of a proposed Cooperative Agreement between Michigan Technological University, Clemson University, Micyhigan State University and coordinate gull egg collection frm Net Island with National Partk Service personnel. Collection will occur on the Gull Island in Lake Superior off W. Marquette County, Michigan and Net Island off of Isle Royale. In May each year, Gull eggs from Gull Island will be enumerated and a subsample collected according to specified procedures from the nesting colony on Gull Island and shipped according to specifications to the University of Windsor for chemical analysis. Gull eggs collected at Net Island by National Park Serice personnel will be shipped according to specifications to the Unversity of Windsor for analysis and publication of the results of the monitoring work.

Gull Island will be accessed utililzing Michigan Tech's research vessel, the R/V Agassiz.