Avian-locust interactions in eastern Australia and the exposure of birds to locust control pesticides

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Title: Avian-locust interactions in eastern Australia and the exposure of birds to locust control pesticides
Author: Szabo, Judit Kriszta
Abstract: There is growing worldwide pressure to develop new and effective chemicals against agricultural pests . Unfortunately , many pesticides have unanticipated and undesired effects on the environment . In eastern Australia , the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC ) has responsibility for locust control , currently using three pesticides (fenitrothion , fipronil and the fungal agent , Metarhizium ) to limit locust populations during outbreaks . In an effort to evaluate the potential impact of these practices on Australian native fauna , this dissertation aims to assess the probability of pesticide exposure in 285 avian species , due primarily to their co -occurrence with locusts in areas where pesticide treatments are most likely to occur . Due to the unpredictable nature of rainfall , locust outbreaks and control events , I have taken a landscape approach to this question , with the area of interest coincident with the area of responsibility of the APLC . Rainfall , vegetation and soil characteristics strongly influence locust and avian distributions . I have examined spatial and temporal patterns in these factors , as well as the relationships between them with a final aim of evaluating their impact on the spatio -temporal distribution of three locust species , locust control events and avian distributions . Avian species distributions were obtained by applying generalized linear models to presence /absence data for the areas of interest for the years 1998–2002 . Probabilities of a bird species present at times and locations of locust control applications were calculated . Field observations of avian species’ occurrence and behavior during locust outbreaks were used to evaluate the model . In the last step , the risk of exposure to fipronil was evaluated considering fipronil levels in three avian food items , seed , vegetation and locust samples . Small granivorous birds consuming high amounts of food daily relative to their body weight are predicted to be at greatest risk from exposure .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /8666
Date: 2005-12

Citation

Szabo, Judit Kriszta Avian-locust interactions in eastern Australia and the exposure of birds to locust control pesticides. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /8666 .

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