We compared the levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, and selenium in the blood, kidney, liver, muscle, and skin of northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon) collected from the upper reach of East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) within the United States Department of Energy's (USDOE's) Y-12 National Security Complex with concentrations in tissues of northern water snakes from a reference reach of the Little River downstream from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. Our objectives were to determine whether concentrations of these metals were higher in tissues of water snakes collected from EFPC compared with the reference site and if northern water snakes were suitable bioindicators of metal contamination. Except for chromium, metal levels were significantly higher in tissues (kidney, liver, muscle, and skin) of EFPC northern water snakes compared with those in tissues of snakes from the reference site. Although female northern water snakes were significantly larger than male snakes, their tissues did not contain significantly higher metal concentrations compared with those from male snakes, possibly because of maternal transfer of metals to eggs. This study was the first to examine the accumulation of contaminants resulting from the operations of the USDOE's Oak Ridge Reservation in snakes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology|
|State||Published - Aug 1 2005|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis