Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 229:365 | Cite as

Tracing Rare Earth Element Sources in Ucides cordatus Crabs by Means of 147Sm/144Nd and 143Nd/144Nd Isotopic Systematics

  • Alice Bosco-SantosEmail author
  • Wanilson Luiz-Silva
  • Elton Luiz Dantas


This study tested for the first time 147Sm/144Nd and 143Nd/144Nd ratios as tracers of rare earth element (REE) sources in semi-terrestrial organisms from a subtropical estuary affected by fertilizer industry activities. The isotopic composition of claw muscles and shells of male crabs (Ucides cordatus) were obtained by thermal ionization mass spectrometry, and provided contrasting signatures incorporated from the physical components by the biota. Our findings showed that crab shells had isotopic compositions similar to seawater, while the claw muscles incorporated the isotopic signature of sediments contaminated by fertilizer. The isotopic ratios (147Sm/144Nd and 143Nd/144Nd) proved that the anthropogenic source is transferring contaminants to the crabs, emerging as a reliable tool to diagnose REE pathway and source to the biota in impacted environments.


Isotopic tracers 147Sm/144Nd systematics Estuary Ucides cordatus 



The authors thank the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the PhD fellowship granted to the first author. We also thank to Dr. Gilhooly III (IUPUI) for the helpful suggestions and comments; the manuscript greatly improved with his support.

Funding Information

This study is financially supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP - Proc. No. 08-11511-8) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq - Proc. No. 432922/2016-4).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geosciences, Department of Geology and Natural ResourcesUniversity of CampinasSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Geosciences, Department of GeologyUniversity of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil

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