From New Orleans, at the e.hormone 2003 Conference
Over the past decade, comparisons of alligators from two Florida lakes–the relatively pristine Woodruff and the pesticide-laden Apopka–have turned up numerous reproductive impairments in the Apopka animals. Low hatching rates, abnormal sex-hormone concentrations, perturbed egg production, and shorter-than-usual penises, are among the effects observed over the years (SN: 7/15/95, p. 44).
These impacts in Lake Apopka's animals had been chronicled only in adolescent and adult gators. Biologists at the University of Florida in Gainesville wanted to see whether the changes occur even in baby gators. So, Teresa Bryan and her coworkers collected 150 alligator eggs from nests on Lake Woodruff and incubated many of them in water laced with nine hormone-mimicking pesticides typical of Lake Apopka. Those include DDT, dieldrin, toxaphene, heptachlor, and alpha-chlordane.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.