Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ibis indicators

A story appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a while back now that covered some research that has been done on the toxins found in ibis eggs. As ibis eat from rubbish dumps their eggs contain traces of all the toxins that are discarded in the domestic rubbish. 
Researchers from the University of NSW tested ibis eggs in 11 locations across eastern Australia and found that eggs in city-based nests carried seven to nine times as many artificial chemicals as those of country-dwelling birds. Traces of the synthetic pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, or DDT, were found in some eggs, indicating that the substance is still working its way through the food chain after being banned in Australia in 1987.
More than 20 years latter and the chemicals are still in the food chain. The SMH story has a good short video with Prof Richard Kingsford, an expert on Australian water birds, and the study's author Camila Ridoutt.

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