Transfer of heavy metals in the food chain earthworm Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa): Comparison of a polluted and a reference site in The Netherlands

M. Roodbergen, C. Klok, A. van der Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) is a migratory wader that favours wet meadows for breeding. The species has a Red List status in The Netherlands, as it strongly declined in numbers since the 1960s. Intensification of agriculture and land use change resulting in habitat loss are considered major causes of this decline. In some areas the breeding habitat is contaminated with heavy metals. Adult godwits mainly feed on earthworms in the breeding season, which are known to accumulate heavy metals from the soil. In this paper we investigate the transfer of heavy metals from the soil to the Black-tailed godwit, which may have an additive negative effect on the viability of local populations. We measured heavy metal concentrations in soil, earthworms, and godwit eggs and feathers at a polluted and a reference site. The results suggest that Lead, Mercury and Cadmium are transferred from the soil to godwits even though the species spends only a few months in the breeding area during the year
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-412
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume406
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • eggs
  • feathers
  • birds
  • population
  • cadmium
  • wetland
  • molt
  • lead
  • soil

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