Dr. Jacob Straub, Environmental Science & Ecology, and his co-PIs, Dr. Jacques Rinchard and Dr. Chris Norment, both in Environmental Science & Ecology; Mike Morgan, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Dr. Don Tilitt, United Stated Geological Survey, received funding from the St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund to study thiamine concentrations in breeding double-crested cormorants. The field work will take place this summer in eastern Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River near Messena, NY.
Double-crested cormorants are colony-nesting birds whose populations have increased substantially in North America, especially in the Great Lakes watersheds. Cormorants are fish-eating birds and are known to consume fish with elevated thiaminase levels, such as gizzard shad and spotted shiner.
The immediate goal of the project is to use transketolase activity in the brain to assess thiamine levels in brain, liver and thigh muscle. The long-term goal of the project is to determine if there are wide-ranging and pervasive population-level effects of thiamine deficiency on birds in the Great Lakes and to understand if this phenomenon can be ameliorated.
The grant will be administered by The Research Foundation for SUNY at SUNY Brockport