Supervisor: Fanie Pelletier
My masters project will explore the level of contamination of Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) prey to 54 different pesticides present during the breeding season, and relating this to the proportion of intensive agricultural habitat on the landscape. The detection and quantification of pesticides is done by capturing single boluses of insects intended for nestlings and then using analytical chemistry (e.g., mass spectrometer) to detect contaminants. With these data it is possible to relate prey density with the level of contamination for the 40 farms visited. I will also relate the exposure of Tree Swallows to pesticides on their wintering grounds. Using geolocators we can track individuals during migration through the United States, allowing us to know the time spent in each state. I will then relate these durations to the amount of pesticide sold in each state. Furthermore, geolocators are placed on individuals from broth western and eastern Canada, which allows me to relate the location of the breeding ground and migration route to the level of exposure during migration. This is an important comparison because the population of Western Canada appears to be more stable than the population of Eastern Canada.