Using terrestrial arthropods as receptor species to determine trophic transfer of heavy metals in a riparian ecosystem
O'Quinn, Gregory Newton
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Four taxa of terrestrial arthropods (Carabidae, Gryllidae, Gryllacrididae, Lycosidae) were collected to quantify metal body concentration (Uranium, Nickel, Copper, Cadmium, Mercury, Titanium) in a riparian ecosystem on the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC. Metal concentrations for taxa collected at the test site (Tims Branch) were compared to a control site (Boggy Gut) to determine if significant differences in metal concentrations existed among taxa. A General Linear Model (GLM) was used to determine if metal concentration was dependent on species and if the number of individuals was affected by metal concentrations. The interaction of taxa and number of individuals caught was used to determine if metal concentration affected the number of individuals caught for each taxa and if species interactions were significant. Stable isotopes were used to determine trophic structure of taxa as well as evaluate the integrity of grouping members of Carabidae into morphospecies. Metal concentrations varied among taxa between sites for each metal. Uranium and Nickel were the only metals that were significantly different for all taxa between both sites. Additionally, Uranium and Nickel were the only metals that were significantly different among all taxa 1315collected at Tims Branch. ´C values and ´N values were used to establish trophic positions 1315for taxa and helped to identify groups of morphospecies. ´C values and ´N values from invertebrates in this study were compared to similar isotope values for cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) collected from the same experimental site to provide insight into potential food sources for these small mammals. These feeding habits could possibly affect the flow of contaminants within this system.