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Keywords:

  • Metal bioaccumulation;
  • Bioavailability;
  • Ecotoxicology;
  • Small mammals;
  • Terrestrial biota

Abstract

Concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and nickel were measured in soils, house mice (Mus musculus), and the main food items of this omnivorous mouse to examine the occurrence of these metals in selected components of a seasonal wetland. Soil concentrations of copper, lead, and (in some areas) nickel were elevated, but extractable soil concentrations indicated low bioavailability of metals. Levels of most metals in mice and composited arthropods were consistent with reference site concentrations from other studies. However, copper was found to be particularly mobile within the local ecosystem and accumulated in house mouse carcasses and composited arthropods at substantial levels. Metal residues in Scirpus robustus (alkali bulrush) roots exceeded those in seeds, consistent with patterns of bioaccumulation commonly observed in plants. Uptake and bioaccumulation factors for S. robustus seeds and roots, arthropods, and mouse carcasses and livers are reported. Concentrations of lead and nickel in S. robustus roots exhibited significant linear relationships with levels in soils. Copper levels in S. robustus seeds varied significantly with those in house mouse livers, suggesting that trophic transfer of copper from this food source to mice occurred. However, other spatial patterns of bioaccumulation in S. robustus and house mice relative to soil/seed concentrations were absent. Metal levels in house mice bore no relation to body weight or estimated age.