Heavy Metal Distribution and Bioaccumulation in Chihuahuan Desert Rough Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex Rugosus) Populations


Heavy metal contamination can negatively impact arid ecosystems; however a thorough examination of bioaccumulation patterns has not been completed. We analyzed the distribution of As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in soils, seeds and ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) populations of the Chihuahuan Desert near El Paso, TX, USA. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, and Pb in soils, seeds and ants declined as a function of distance from a now inactive Cu and Pb smelter and all five metals bioaccumulated in the granivorous ants. The average bioaccumulation factors for the metals from seeds to ants ranged from 1.04 x (As) to 8.12 x (Cd). The findings show bioaccumulation trends in linked trophic levels in an arid ecosystem and further investigation should focus on the impacts of heavy metal contamination at the community level.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Arid ecosystems; Bioaccumulation factor; Granivory; Heavy metal contamination; Trophic level; Bioaccumulation; Biochemistry; Cadmium; Ecosystems; Landforms; Metals; Seed; Soils; Zinc; Soil pollution; arsenic; copper; heavy metal; lead; ant; community composition; concentration (composition); ecosystem response; pollution effect; bioavailability; Bouteloua curtipendula; concentration (parameters); controlled study; Dasyochola pulchela; desert; food contamination; grass; hazard assessment; nonhuman; plant seed; Pogonomyrmex rugosus; smelter; soil acidity; soil moisture; United States; urban area; Animals; Ants; Desert Climate; Environmental Monitoring; Environmental Pollutants; Heavy; Chihuahuan Desert; Formicidae; Hymenoptera; Heavy metals; Hymenoptera Formicidae

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Article - Journal

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© 2010 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2010