|Source: Environmental Monitor|
A new study of mercury levels in bats links higher concentrations in some colonies to the acidity of nearby lakes and rivers, further illuminating the paths this global atmospheric contaminant follows though aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Previous research has shown that fish and other organisms in lakes with higher acidity tend to have higher mercury concentrations. This study from Nova Scotia shows the effect appears to extend to little brown bats, which feed on adult insects that live in aquatic habitats as juveniles.
“What we found was that the average water acidity in surrounding freshwater systems may be an important factor in increasing bioavailability of mercury in aquatic food chains leading to little brown bats,” wrote Linda Campbell, study co-author and a senior research fellow in environmental science at Saint Mary’s University, in an email.
The study, published online by the journal Environmental Science and Technology, came about after a bird ecotoxicologist, a bat biologist and a limnologist got together.
“While we didn’t all walk into a bar, our interests and expertise overlapped nicely,” said Campbell, the limnologist of the group.