Advertisement

Using Non-destructive Techniques to Measure Mercury (Hg) Concentrations in Gravid Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Northeastern Illinois

  • Timothy Benjamin
  • Rebecka Brasso
  • Stephen Midway
  • Dan Thompson
  • Leigh Anne Harden
Article

Abstract

Aquatic turtles are suitable biomonitors of wetland ecosystem health because they are long-lived and occupy elevated trophic positions in wetland food webs. This study aimed to determine Hg exposure in adult Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii), an imperiled prairie-wetland species endemic to the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Claw samples were collected from gravid females from four wetland sites in northeast Illinois. Claw Hg concentrations ranged from 654 to 3132 ng/g and we found no effect of body size (carapace length, CL) and some evidence for an effect of wetland site (WS) on mean Hg (i.e. weak effect of site on Hg, detected between WS1 and WS3). Claw Hg concentrations reported in this study were lower than claw concentrations published for other freshwater turtles (e.g. Chelydra serpentina, Sternotherus oderatus). This is the first Hg-related study on Blanding’s turtles and can serve as a reference for other Hg studies in Illinois wetlands.

Keywords

Mercury Wetlands Emydoidea blandingii Non-lethal tissue sampling Biomonitor Toenail 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the following for field assistance: Benedictine University Lab members A. Karwowska, S. Shahjahan, Loyola University Chicago (LUC) Lab members J. Milanovich, A. Cann, A. Muñoz, I. Lentini, and The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (FPDDC). The work was conducted under Illinois Department of Natural Resource (IDNR) Scientific Permit (NH16.5785), IDNR Owned or Managed Site Permit (SS16-037), IDNR Permit for Possession of Endangered or Threatened Species (16-061SBT), a FPDDC Research Permit (16-16), and was conducted under LUC IACUC Protocol no. 82. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Benoit JM, Gilmour CC, Mason RP (2001) The influence of sulfide on solid-shase mercury bioavailability for methylation by pure cultures of Desulfobulbus propionicus (1pr3). Environ Sci Technol 35:127–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergeron CM, Husak JF, Unrine JM, Romanek CS, Hopkins WA (2007) Influence of feeding ecology on blood mercury concentrations in four species of turtles. Environ Toxicol Chem 26:1733–1741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Browne CL, Hecnar SJ (2007) Species loss and shifting population structure of freshwater turtles despite habitat protection. Biol Conserv 138:421–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Châteauvert JL, Bulté G, Poulain AJ, Campbell LM, Blouin-Demers G (2015) Dietary reliance on benthic primary production as a predictor of mercury accumulation in freshwater fish and turtles. Water Air Soil Pollut 226:337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Congdon JD, Kinney OM, Nagle RD (2011) Spatial ecology and core-area protection of Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii). Can J Zool 89:1098–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Driscoll CT, Han Y-J, Chen CY, Evers DC, Lambert KF, Holsen TM, Kamman NC, Munson RK (2007) Mercury contamination in forest and freshwater ecosystems in the northeastern United States. Bioscience 57:17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ernst CH, Lovich JE, Barbour RW (1994) Turtles of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Gilmour CC, Henry EA, Mitchell R (1992) Sulfate stimulation of mercury methylation in freshwater sediments. Environ Sci Technol 26:2281–2287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Golet WJ, Haines TA (2001) Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) as monitors for mercury contamination of aquatic environments. Environ Monit Assess 71:211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Green AD, Buhlmann KA, Hagen C (2010) Mercury contamination in turtles and implications for human health. J Environ Health 72:14Google Scholar
  11. Guillot H, Bonnet X, Bustamante P, Churlaud C, Trotignon J, Brischoux F (2018) Trace element concentrations in european pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) from Brenne Natural Park, France. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-018-2376-7
  12. Hall BD, Aiken GR, Krabbenhoft DP, Marvin-DiPasquale M, Swarzenski CM (2008) Wetlands as principal zones of methylmercury production in southern Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico region. Environ Pollut 154:124–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hartwig TS (2004) Habitat selection of Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii): a range-wide review and microhabitat study. M.S. Thesis, Bard CollegeGoogle Scholar
  14. Hopkins BC (2012) Mercury bioaccumulation and adverse reproductive effects in snapping turtles inhabiting a historically contaminated river. M.S. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  15. Hopkins WA, Hopkins LB, Unrine JM, Snodgrass J, Elliot JD (2007) Mercury concentrations in tissues of osprey from the Carolinas, USA. J Wild Manag 71:1819–1829CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hopkins BC, Hepner MJ, Hopkins WA (2013a) Non-destructive techniques for biomonitoring of spatial, temporal, and demographic patterns of mercury bioaccumulation and maternal transfer in turtles. Environ Pollut 177:164–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hopkins WA, Bodinof C, Budischak S, Perkins C (2013b) Nondestructive indices of mercury exposure in three species of turtles occupying different trophic niches downstream from a former chloralkali facility. Ecotoxicology 22:22–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hopkins BC, Willson JD, Hopkins WA (2013c) Mercury exposure is associated with negative effects on turtle reproduction. Environ Sci Technol 47:2416–2422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (2015) Checklist of Endangered and threatened animals and plants of Illinois. Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  20. Kruschke JK (2010) Bayesian data analysis. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci 1:658–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Landler L, Painter MS, Coe BH, Youmans PW, Hopkins WA, Phillips JB (2017) High levels of maternally transferred mercury disrupt magnetic responses of snapping turtle hatchlings (Chelydra serpentina). Environ Pollut 228:19–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meyer E, Eagles-Smith CA, Sparling D, Blumenshine S (2014) Mercury exposure associated with altered plasma thyroid hormones in the declining western pond turtle (Emys marmorata) from California mountain streams. Environ Sci Technol 48:2989–2996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Millar CS, Blouin-Demers G (2011) Spatial ecology and seasonal activity of Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Ontario, Canada. J Herpetol 45:370–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Newton EJ, Herman TB (2009) Habitat, movements, and behaviour of overwintering Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Nova Scotia. Can J Zool 87:299–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Plummer M (2016) rjags: Bayesian Graphical Models Using MCMCGoogle Scholar
  26. Powell AL (2014) Mercury contamination in freshwater turtles of eastern Oklahoma: Evaluation of non-destructive sampling techniques. M.S. Thesis, Oklahoma State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  27. R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  28. Rowe JW (1992) Dietary habits of the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) in northeastern Illinois. J Herpetol 26:111–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rubin CS, Warner RE, Bouzat JL, Paige KN (2001) Population genetic structure of Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in an urban landscape. Biol Conserv 99:323–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schneider L, Eggins S, Maher W, Vogt RC, Krikowa F, Kinsley L, Eggins SM, Da Silveira R (2015) An evaluation of the use of reptile dermal scutes as a non-invasive method to monitor mercury concentrations in the environment. Chemosphere 119:163–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Slimani T, El Hassani MS, El Mouden EH, Bonnet M, Bustamante P, Brischoux F, Brault-Favrou M, Bonnet X (2018) Large-scale geographic patterns of mercury contamination in Morocco revealed by freshwater turtles. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25:2350–2360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith DL, Cooper MJ, Kosiara JM, Lamberti GA (2016) Body burdens of heavy metals in Lake Michigan wetland turtles. Environ Monit Assess 188:128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Turnquist MA, Driscoll CT, Schulz KL, Schlaepfer MA (2011) Mercury concentrations in snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) correlate with environmental and landscape characteristics. Ecotoxicology 20:1599–1608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. van Dijk PP, Rhodin AGJ (2011) Emydoidea blandingii (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T7709A121707136Google Scholar
  35. Yu S, Halbrook RS, Sparling DW, Colombo R (2011) Metal accumulation and evaluation of effects in a freshwater turtle. Ecotoxicology 20:1801–1812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zapata L, Bock B, Palacio J (2014) Mercury concentrations in tissues of Colombian slider turtles, Trachemys callirostris, from northern Colombia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92:562–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBenedictine UniversityLisleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologySoutheast Missouri State UniversityCape GirardeauUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oceanography and Coastal SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  4. 4.The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Office of Natural Resources – EcologyWheatonUSA

Personalised recommendations