The soil ecotoxicology literature has focused primarily on a few major taxa, to the neglect of other fossorial organisms such as amphibians. We selected cadmium (Cd) and the American toad (Bufo americanus) as a model contaminant and biological species to assess the impact of soil contamination on amphibian hibernation survival and post-hibernation condition. Soil sand composition (50, 70, 90%) and hydration (100, 150% water holding capacity (WHC)) were manipulated in addition to Cd concentration (0, 56, 165, 483 μg/g) to determine whether these soil properties affect toxicity. Soil Cd concentration significantly reduced survival and locomotor performance, and was correlated negatively with percent mass loss and positively with whole body Cd concentration. Higher sand content resulted in less mass loss and greater Cd uptake. Toads that were hibernated in 50% sand hydrated to 100% WHC had higher survival, less mass loss, and better sprint performance than those hibernated in 50% sand, 150% WHC. This study demonstrates that concentrations of Cd found in soil at highly contaminated sites can be bioaccumulated by hibernating amphibians and may reduce fitness. Differences in microhabitat use may cause species to vary in their exposure and susceptibility to soil contamination. The toxicity of Cd to amphibians could be greater in natural systems where there are multiple stressors and fluctuations in environmental variables.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||The effect of soil composition and hydration on the bioavailability and toxicity of cadmium to hibernating juvenile American toads (Bufo americanus)|
|Series title||Environmental Pollution|
|Contributing office(s)||Columbia Environmental Research Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|