Little is known about most sea duck species; many breed in remote northern latitudes and winter on the ocean. Some species have been experiencing rapid population decreases in recent years.
BRI researchers have been investigating mercury contamination and tracking flight patterns of these birds in order to help conservationists protect them in the face of climate change, marine wind power development, habitat loss, and other pressing ecological issues.
“Each bird is handled with great care and respect—they deserve no less.”
— Lucas Savoy, Program Director
- Working with federal and state agencies to evaluate contaminant exposure in waterfowl
- Using waterfowl to evaluate potential human health risks from consuming game species
- Determining potential effects contaminants have on the reproductive success and survival of waterfowl
- Conducting studies useful in the conservation of waterfowl
Current BRI Projects
- Using satellite telemetry to monitor the daily and seasonal movements of common eiders that nest in the Gulf of Maine
- Rangeley Lakes Monitoring Project evaluating mercury exposure and nesting productivity in waterfowl
- Seaduck Contaminant Exposure Profiling
- Evaluating mallard productivity and habitat loss in Virginia
- Surf Scoter contaminant survey
- Sea duck research in Atlantic/Gulf of Maine
- Implement studies to address the conservation priorities for sea ducks outlined by the Sea Duck Joint Venture Implementation Plan 2010-2013
- Population delineation of scoters and long-tailed ducks
- Establish a long-term waterfowl nest box program in southern Maine (River Point Conservation Area)
Eastern North America, Alaska, California
Recent Reports, Papers and Presentations
- Meattey, D. and L. Savoy. 2010. Assessing mercury accumulation in
wintering sea ducks and atlantic brant at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, 2009. Report BRI 2010-08. BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, ME. 17 pages. pdf
- Savoy, L. 2007. Mercury in blood of molting and wintering Harlequin Ducks from Alaska. Report BRI, Biodiversity Research Institute, Gorham, Maine. 8pp. pdf
- Savoy, L. and D.C. Evers 2007. Pilot assessment of methlymercury availability to Mallards on the North Fork of the Holston River, Virginia - 2006. Report BRI 2007-12 submitted to the U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Gloucester, Virginia. BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, ME. 42pp.
- Savoy, L. and D.C. Evers 2007. Pilot assessment of methlymercury availability to Mallards on the South River, Virginia - 2007. Report BRI 2007-18 submitted to the U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Gloucester, Virginia. BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, ME.
- Savoy, L. 2005. Establishing waterfowl observation stations and conduction brood surveys on Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Report BRI 2005- 12 BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, Maine. 32pp. pdf