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Reduction of metal exposure of Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii) following remediation of pond sediment as evidenced by metal concentrations in hair

Flache, Lucie, Ekschmitt, Klemens, Kierdorf, Uwe, Czarnecki, Sezin, Düring, Rolf-Alexander, Encarnação, Jorge A.
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.547 pp. 182-189
Araneae, EDTA (chelating agent), Myotis, aquatic environment, aquatic insects, birds, cadmium, chromium, copper, dredging, foraging, freshwater, lead, microwave treatment, monitoring, nickel, predators, remediation, sediments, zinc
Transfer of contaminants from freshwater sediments via aquatic insects to terrestrial predators is well documented in spiders and birds. Here, we analyzed the metal exposure of Myotis daubentonii using an urban pond as their preferred foraging area before and after a remediation measure (sediment dredging) at this pond.Six metal elements (Zn, Cu, Cr, Cd, Pb and Ni) were measured in the sediment of the pond, in EDTA extracts of the sediment and in hair samples of M. daubentonii foraging at the pond. Samples were taken before remediation in 2011 and after remediation in 2013. Metal concentrations were quantified by ICP-OES after miniaturized microwave assisted extraction.In 2011, the pond sediment exhibited a high contamination with nickel, a moderate contamination with copper and chromium and low contents of zinc, cadmium and lead. While sediment metal contents declined only weakly after remediation, a much more pronounced reduction in the concentrations of zinc, copper, chromium and lead concentrations was observed in bat hair.Our results suggest a marked decline in metal exposure of the bats foraging at the pond as a consequence of the remediation measure. It is concluded that Daubenton's bats are suitable bioindicators of metal contamination in aquatic environments, integrating metal exposure via prey insects over their entire foraging area. We further suggest that bat hair is a useful monitoring unit, allowing a non-destructive and non-invasive assessment of metal exposure in bats.