Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2020Peer reviewed

Spatio-temporal variation of metals and organic contaminants in bank voles (Myodes glareolus)

Ecke, Frauke; Benskin, Jonathan P.; Berglund, Asa M. M.; de Wit, Cynthia A.; Engstrom, Emma; Plassmann, Merle M.; Rodushkin, Ilia; Sorlin, Dieke; Hornfeldt, Birger


Environmental contamination with metals and organic compounds is of increasing concern for ecosystem and human health. Still, our knowledge about spatial distribution, temporal changes and ecotoxicological fate of metals and organic contaminants in wildlife is limited. We studied concentrations of 69 elements and 50 organic compounds in 300 bank voles (Myodes glareolus), Europe's most common mammal, sampled in spring and autumn 2017-2018 in five monitoring areas, representing three biogeographic regions. In addition, we compared measured concentrations with previous results from bank voles sampled within the same areas in 1995-1997 and 2001. In general, our results show regional differences, but no consistent patterns among contaminants and study areas. The exception was for the lowest concentrations of organic contaminants (e.g. perfluorooctane sulfonate, PFOS), which were generally found in the northern Swedish mountain area Concentrations of metals and organic contaminants in adults varied seasonally with most organic contaminants being higher in spring; likely induced by diet shifts but potentially also related to age differences. In addition, metal concentrations varied between organs (liver vs. kidney), age classes (juveniles vs. adults; generally higher in adults) as well as between males and females. Concentrations of chromium and nickel in kidney and liver in the northernmost mountain area were lower in 2017-2018 than in 1995-1997 and in three of four areas, lead concentrations were lower in 2017-2018 than in 2001. Current metal concentrations (except mercury) are not expected to negatively affect the voles. Concentrations of hexachlorobenzene displayed highest concentrations in 2001 in the mountains, while it was close to detection limit in 2017-2018. Likewise, PFOS concentrations decreased in the mountains and in south-central lowland forests between 2001 and 2017-2018. Our results suggest that season, age class and sex need to be considered when designing and interpreting results from monitoring programs targeting inorganic and organic contaminants in wildlife. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Accumulation; Biomagnification; PFAS; PFOS; Small mammal; Sweden

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2020, Volume: 713, article number: 136353
Publisher: ELSEVIER