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Distribution of mercury in archived fur from little brown bats across Atlantic Canada

Little, Megan E., Burgess, Neil M., Broders, Hugh G., Campbell, Linda M.
Environmental pollution 2015 v.207 pp. 52-58
Chiroptera, adults, bioaccumulation, carbon, diet, females, fur, isotopes, mercury, national parks, nitrogen, Nova Scotia
Total mercury (Hg) concentrations were measured in archived fur from adult female little brown bats sampled at maternity roosts across Atlantic Canada. Mercury concentrations varied significantly among regions and roosts. Bats from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland had the highest median Hg concentrations (9.67 μg/g and 9.51 μg/g) among regions, and individuals from Kejimkujik National Park had the highest Hg (median: 28.38 μg/g) among roosts. Over one third of individuals sampled had fur Hg concentrations exceeding thresholds associated with neurochemical responses. Within-roost examinations of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in fur showed inconsistent associations with Hg concentrations. Therefore, the hypothesis that within-roost variation in Hg is driven by variation in diet is not supported by this data, and it is recommended that key prey items be included in future mercury bioaccumulation studies for bats. The elevated mercury fur concentrations for bats from southern Nova Scotia remains an anomaly of concern even when placed in the larger context of Atlantic Canada.