Relationships between soil and badger elemental concentrations across a heterogeneously contaminated landscape.

Sartorius, Andrea; Cahoon, Molly; Corbetta, Davide; Grau Roma, Llorenç; Johnson, Matthew F; Barron, Elsa Sandoval; Smallman-Raynor, Matthew; Swift, Benjamin M C; Yon, Lisa; Young, Scott; Bennett, Malcolm (2023). Relationships between soil and badger elemental concentrations across a heterogeneously contaminated landscape. The Science of the total environment, 869(161684), p. 161684. Elsevier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161684

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Understanding the links between environmental and wildlife elemental concentrations is key to help assess ecosystem functions and the potential effects of legacy pollutants. In this study, livers from 448 European badgers (Meles meles) collected across the English Midlands were used to investigate the relationship between elemental concentrations in topsoils and wildlife. Mean soil sample concentrations within 2 km of each badger, determined using data from the British Geological Survey's 'Geochemical Baseline Survey of the Environment', were compared to badger liver elemental concentrations, focusing primarily on Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, K, Mn, Pb, Se, Zn. Generally, the badgers appeared to have elemental concentrations comparable with those published for other related animals, though Cu concentrations tended to be lower than expected. While there was no relationship between soil and badger liver concentrations for most biologically essential elements, biologically non-essential elements, specifically Pb, Cd, As, and Ag, were positively correlated between soil and badger livers. Lead and Cd, the elements with the strongest relationships between soils and badger livers, were primarily elevated in badgers collected in Derbyshire, a county with a millennia-long history of Pb mining and significant Pb and Cd soil pollution. Cadmium concentrations in badgers were also, on average, almost nine times higher than the local soil concentrations, likely due to Cd biomagnification in earthworms, a dietary staple of badgers. While badgers are good models for studying associations between soil and wildlife elemental concentrations, due to their diet, burrowing behaviours, and site fidelity, all flora and fauna local to human-modified environments could be exposed to and impacted by legacy pollutants.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Animal Pathology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Grau Roma, Llorenç

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1879-1026

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

24 Jan 2023 13:49

Last Modified:

04 Mar 2023 00:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161684

PubMed ID:

36690105

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Badgers Environmental elemental concentrations Human-modified environments Legacy pollutants

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/177822

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/177822

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