NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Tulane researchers have a $104,000 grant to study whether lead in polluted neighborhoods is making mockingbirds more aggressive than those in other neighborhoods.
Tuesday's news release says Jordan Karubian and Renata Ribeiro have shown that mockingbirds in neighborhoods with high levels of lead in the dirt have more lead in their blood and eggs than those in other neighborhoods, and they tend to be even more aggressive than other mockingbirds.
Ribeiro says high lead levels can make people more aggressive, but she and Karubian need to do more work to tell whether these birds are more aggressive because of the lead or other factors such as habitat quality.
Karubian and Ribeiro are professors in Tulane's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
The two-year grant is from the Morris Animal Foundation.