Long-term British otter study shows good news for metal contamination

A long-term study on metal contamination in otters showed that toxic element concentrations are below adverse effect levels. The study, led by Cardiff University and co-authored by UKCEH, examined time trends for metal contamination in otter livers along with an assessment of likely landscape-scale drivers of how this varies.

The study used monitoring data generated through the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme, that showed a decline over time in liver concentrations of chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni), but not silver (Ag), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), or mercury (Hg). Toxic element concentrations (Cd, Pb, As, Hg) were below adverse effect thresholds.

The article is open access and can be downloaded from ScienceDirect by clicking the doi link below:

Brand A-F, Hynes J, Walker LA, Pereira MG, Lawlor AJ, Williams RJ, Shore RF, Chadwick EA. (2020). Biological and anthropogenic predictors of metal concentration in the Eurasian otter, a sentinel of freshwater ecosystems. Environmental Pollution: article 115280 (not yet assigned to an issue, open access) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115280

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