Standardization of egg collection from aquatic birds for biomonitoring - a critical review

2012, Journals

Klein, Roland; Bartel-Steinbach, Martina; Koschorreck, Jan; Paulus, Martin; Tarricone, Kathrin; Teubner, Diana; Wagner, Gerhard; Weimann, Thomas; Veith, Michael
Environmental Science & Technology 46 (2012), 10, 5273-5284


Collecting bird eggs is an established method of biomonitoring for specific pollution hazards. One of the most critical problems with this method is the extreme biological variability in bird eggs, but standardizing the collection and preservation of eggs can reduce these problems. Furthermore, standard practices are required so that the results can be compared among studies because mistakes cannot be corrected by laboratory analysis. Therefore, a standard procedure for collecting and preserving bird eggs may be necessary. The objective of this review is to investigate the current standard of quality assurance in the field by analyzing 86 peer-reviewed papers describing egg collection and use for aquatic birds. We show that little attention has been paid to standardizing how eggs are collected and stored in the field. Important information is often absent, including crucial aspects of sample collection and preservation, such as the freshness of the eggs, the position of the eggs in the laying sequence, the selection criteria, random sampling, and the duration and temperature of transport. Potential standards are suggested and discussed as a foundation for the development of quality assurance standards in the field.


See also: Nature News & Comments: Call for standards in egg bio-monitoring