Soil pollution by heavy metals correlates with levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites of a fossorial amphisbaenian reptile
EntityUAM. Departamento de Biología
PublisherOxford University Press
10.1093/conphys/coab085Conservation Physiology 9.1 (2021): coab085
ProjectGobierno de España. PGC2018-093592-B-I00
SubjectsSquamata; Lizards; Reptile; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© The Author(s) 2021
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
Soil degradation may have strong negative consequences for soil biodiversity, but these potential effects are understudied and poorly understood. Concentration of nesting seabirds may be a source of soil pollution by heavy metals, which are incorporated into the food chain and may have toxicological effects in vertebrates, especially in fossorial animals with low dispersal ability. We examined whether contamination by heavy metals, derived from seagull depositions, and other soil characteristics, may affect the levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (as a potential indicator of physiological stress) of the fossorial amphisbaenian reptile Trogonophis wiegmanni. We found a relationship between soil pollution by heavy metals and increased levels of faecal corticosterone metabolite of the amphisbaenians that live buried in those soils. This can be due to the strong endocrine disruption effect of heavy metals. In addition, there was an independent effect of the soil texture, with amphisbaenians showing higher levels of faecal corticosterone metabolite in soils with less sand and more silt and clay, which are more energetically costly to dig. Long-term exposure to high glucocorticoid levels might have serious effects on health state and fitness of fossorial animals that may be unnoticed. Our study emphasizes that, to prevent future conservation problems, we need to perform periodic surveys on the physiological health state of the little-known subterranean biodiversity
Google Scholar:Martín, José - Barja Núñez, Isabel - Rodríguez-Ruiz, Gonzalo - Recio, Pablo - García, Luis V.
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