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1 December 2015 Changes in White Blood Cell Parameters of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) Exposed to Low Levels of Oil
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Abstract

Little is known about sublethal effects on birds of low level exposure to oil. White blood cell parameters (total leukocyte counts and/or differentials) were measured in blood samples from Common Terns (Sterna hirundo; n = 71) exposed to low levels of oil from an oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, in 2003. Data from Common Terns (n = 16) sampled at the same site in a non-spill year were used for reference. Total leukocytes and lymphocytes were severely depressed when individuals were first sampled, 14–20 days after the spill, and returned to near to or above reference levels by day 39. Heterophils and heterophil/lymphocyte ratios were markedly elevated 14–20 days after the spill, and returned to below reference levels by day 39. These changes were closely parallel to changes in hematocrit in the same birds, but hematocrits were not correlated with white blood cell parameters, suggesting that mechanisms of action were different. The combination of immune suppression and anemia during the physiologically demanding period prior to and during egg-laying is likely to have caused adverse effects on reproduction.

Ian C. T. Nisbet, Florina S. Tseng, Christine V. Fiorello, and Victor Apanius "Changes in White Blood Cell Parameters of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) Exposed to Low Levels of Oil," Waterbirds 38(4), 415-419, (1 December 2015). https://doi.org/10.1675/063.038.0405
Received: 12 May 2015; Accepted: 1 June 2015; Published: 1 December 2015
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