Total body concentrations of zinc, copper, cadmium, lead, nickel, mercury and arsenic were determined for Peromyscus maniculatus and Microtus pennsylvanicus from an active zinc-copper mine near Timmins, Ontario, Canada, and a proposed zinc-copper mine near Crandon, Wisconsin, USA. Metal concentrations were evaluated with respect to area, species, sex and age groups. Metal concentrations in Peromyscus from the proposed mine site were not different from those collected in a third area where no mine or deposit exists. This is probably due to the 30 m of glacial material over the proposed mine site deposit. A statistical interaction between area, species, sex and age was observed for zinc and copper concentrations in small mammals we examined. Peromyscus from the mine site had consistently higher metal concentrations than Peromyscus from the control site. Greater total body cadmium and lead concentrations in adult?compared with juvenile?Peromyscus collected at the mine site suggests age-dependent accumulation of these toxic metals. Microtus did not exhibit this age-related response, and responded to other environmental metals more erratically and to a lesser degree. Differences in the response of these two species to environmental metal exposure may be due to differences in food habits. Nickel, mercury and arsenic concentrations in small mammals from the mine site were not different from controls. Heavy metal concentrations are also presented for Sorex cinereus, Blarina brevicauda and Zapus hudsonicus without respect to age and sex cohorts. Peromyscus may be a potentially important species for the monitoring of heavy metal pollution.
Additional publication details
Small mammal-heavy metal concentrations from mined and control sites