Effects of Zinc Exposure on Earthworms, Lumbricus terrestris, in an Artificial Soil

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Abstract

Earthworms have the potential to act as trophic links for pollutants that accumulate in urban soils. However, many pollutants may act as micronutrients at low concentrations and toxins at higher concentration. When pollutants are also micronutrients, bioaccumulations may initially increase trophic transfer as pollutant concentration increase, but at higher levels toxic effects may limit population size and the potential for trophic transfer. We found support for this model among earthworms exposed to a range of soil Zn levels. Worms showed increasing bioaccumulation of Zn with increasing Zn soil concentrations, but at higher Zn levels worm growth rates decreased.