Mercury accumulation in wild mammals of different trophic niches

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Ended on 3/05/24
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About This Project

We analyzed the mercury content in the organs of wild terrestrial mammals (10 wolves, 30 foxes, 20 raccoon dogs, 15 minks, 50 martens, 13 polecats, 25 moose, 25 beavers, 50 voles). And we found out that herbivorous animals (moose, beavers and voles) accumulate mercury less than predators (P≤0.05). At the same time, predators with a wider trophic niche (raccoon dog, fox, wolf) accumulate mercury less than more specialized predators (mink, polecat and marten) (P≤0.05).

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What is the context of this research?

Mercury poses a significant public health problem. Exposure to mercury, even in small amounts, causes serious problems in the nervous, reproductive and cardiovascular systems.

All people are exposed to mercury at one level or another, most often when eating fish and animal products with a high content of methylmercury.

Mercury, released from the earth's crust as a result of natural processes and human activity, migrates over vast distances from sources of emissions and is deposited throughout the earth's surface.

Once in the environment, mercury, under the influence of bacteria, turns into methylmercury, which accumulates in fish and shellfish and then bio-amplifies along the food chain, passing into terrestrial ecosystems.

What is the significance of this project?

Fundamental knowledge about the processes of mercury intake and distribution in wild terrestrial mammals in various food niches is very important for effective regulation of the mechanisms of mercury intake into the human body and reducing the harmful effects of mercury compounds on health.

Moreover, the research area (Vologda Oblast) has unique natural and geographical conditions under which mercury methylation processes are actively taking place. High mercury levels are regularly recorded in the wild animals of the region. Therefore, the local population is exposed to high health effects of mercury.

What are the goals of the project?

The purpose of the study is to identify patterns of mercury intake and distribution in the organs of wild terrestrial mammals in an area with unique natural conditions conducive to the formation of a bioavailable form of mercury:

1. analysis of the mercury content in the organs of 9 species of wild terrestrial mammals using the mercury analyzer RA915+

2. comparison of mercury accumulation levels in different mammalian organs using the Kruskal Wallace criterion at a significance level of P=0.05 3. Comparison of mercury accumulation levels in herbivorous and predatory mammals with different trophic niches.


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Participation in a specialized international conference will allow me to discuss the results of our research with leading foreign scientists on the subject under study. The regional problem announced at the international conference immediately goes to the international level, which allows us to find resources, including material ones, to solve it.

Planned results of the conference:

1. Presentation of the results of our research at the international level

2. Establishing contacts with experts on the issues under study

3. Discussing a plan of cooperation with like-minded people and colleagues to achieve common goals 4. Agreement on joint publications in highly rated international journals

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I am really excited of this project. I believe in will answer critical questions in this field study. This researcher is the best person to answer this questions.
I am really excited for this project. I believe it will answer critical questoins in this field of study. This researcher is the best person to answer these questions.

Project Timeline

The 16th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP 2024) will be held from July 21 to 26, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. Abstracts of the research results will be published and printed before the start of the conference. An oral report on the results of the study will be presented during the conference no later than July 26, 2024.

Feb 27, 2024

Project Launched

Jul 21, 2024

Publication of abstracts of research results in the proceedings of the ICMGP 2024 conference

Jul 26, 2024

Presentation of research results at a conference ICMGP 2024

Meet the Team

Liubov Eltsova
Liubov Eltsova

Liubov Eltsova

Postgraduate student of the Department of Biology of Cherepovets State University, Russia.
Author of 30 scientific articles on ecology. The main publications are here:

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