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SEABIRD TISSUE ARCHIVAL AND MONITORING PROJECT: Project Overview, and Updated Protocols for Collecting and Banking Seabird Eggs



Lauren B. Rust, Rebecca S. Pugh, Amanda J. Moors, Stacy S. Schuur, David G. Roseneau, Paul R. Becker


The Seabird Tissue and Archival Monitoring Project (STAMP) is a collaborative effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to monitor long-term (100-year) trends in persistent, potentially harmful bioaccumulative contaminants in the Bearing and Chukchi seas and Gulf of Alaska using seabird tissues, i.e., primarily eggs (York et al. 2001). The cryogenic banking of eggs for retrospective analysis is a major component of STAMP. This approach is similar to that of the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP) that was started in 1987 by NIST and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program. AMMTAP was developed to cryogenically bank tissues collected from marine mammals taken in Alaska Native subsistence hunts, particularly in offshore regions designated for oil and gas exploration and development, for future contaminant analyses (Becker et al. 1993). Specimens from both AMMTAP and STAMP are banked in the Marine Environmental Specimen Bank (Marine ESB) at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC. Seabirds are similar to marine mammals in that they feed near the top of the food chain and have the potential for accumulating anthropogenic contaminants. Analysis of banked eggs is helping to develop baseline data on contaminants in major Alaskan Marine Regions. To date, approximately 1,453 eggs representing over 14,000 egg sample aliquots from 44 sampling sites have been banked in the Marine ESB as a part of the STAMP. These data are also significant in providing information on contaminants in a human subsistence resource that is prominent in many rural Alaskan diets. This report is to provide an up-to-date description of the STAMP protocols for collecting and banking seabird eggs.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7678
Report Number


STAMP, seabird eggs, specimen banking


Rust, L. , Pugh, R. , Moors, A. , Schuur, S. , Roseneau, D. and Becker, P. (2010), SEABIRD TISSUE ARCHIVAL AND MONITORING PROJECT: Project Overview, and Updated Protocols for Collecting and Banking Seabird Eggs, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created July 29, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018