Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 189–215

Heavy-metal ecology of terrestrial plants, microorganisms and invertebrates

A review


  • G. Tyler
    • Dept. of Plant Ecology
  • A. - M. Balsberg Påhlsson
    • Dept. of Plant Ecology
  • G. Bengtsson
    • Dept. of Animal Ecology
  • E. Bååth
    • Dept. of Microbial Ecology
  • L. Tranvik
    • Dept. of Animal Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/BF00279327

Cite this article as:
Tyler, G., Påhlsson, A.-.M.B., Bengtsson, G. et al. Water Air Soil Pollut (1989) 47: 189. doi:10.1007/BF00279327


Ecological and physiological effects of heavy metals on terrestrial organisms are reviewed, considering evidence from both laboratory and field studies. Problems concerning how to define heavy-metal exposure and to assess the sensitivity of field biota to heavy metals are discussed. Mechanisms of heavy-metal tolerance are considered including avoidance, exclusion, immobilization and excretion, as well biochemical mechanisms including enzymatic change. The taxonomy of heavy-metal tolerance and problems concerning tolerance and ecological performance are discussed briefly. Efforts are made to compare the relative sensitivity of various groups, including bacteria, fungi, bryophytes, lichens, vascular plants and soil invertebrates. An emphasis is placed on organisms of temperate forest ecosystems, particularly coniferous forests.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989