Cooperative Research Units
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Ferguson, L.M.*, T.M. Norton, A. Dipl, C. Cray, M. Olivia, P.G.R. Jodice. 2014. Health assessments of brown pelican nestlings from colonies in South Carolina and Georgia. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 45:835-845.


We evaluated the health of Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) nestlings from three colonies along the Atlantic coast of the southeastern USA in 2005, 2007, and 2008. Our primary objective was to establish baseline data for hematological, biochemical, and serological values of a free-living population of pelicans during early chick development. We also evaluated the relationship among health variables and colony site, ectoparasite infestation, sex, and body condition index. Reference intervals are presented for health variables, including novel analytes for the species, and we present comparisons of our results with previously published values for wild pelicans. No significant relationships were found between health variables and nestling sex or body condition, however differences between colony sites and presence of ectoparasites were detected. The collection of baseline data and inclusion of health assessments as a regular component of management programs for seabirds can provide insight into the condition of species of conservation concern and enhance understanding of the ecological and demographic mechanisms regulating populations.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 3

Phd Students: 2

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 12

Scientific Publications: 39

Presentations: 171



July (3rd Quarter/Summer) 2014

Unit Authors

South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Clemson University
  2. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute