Amphibians are important bioindicators in environmental assessment. This highly diverse group of vertebrates is experiencing unprecedented declines worldwide due to a complex array of factors, including disease, habitat loss, invasive species, and environmental pollution. Heavy metals are especially problematic due to their persistence and ability to present a localized hazard even at sublethal levels. Northern Idaho has a long history of mining activity, and many watersheds have experienced heavy metal contamination. These streams contain many sensitive species, including the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog, (Ascaphus montanus). While tailed frog populations are known to be especially vulnerable to logging and road building, the effects of local mining have not been documented. In order to assess the vulnerability of this species to heavy metal contamination, tadpoles were collected from three distinct populations across the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Two sampling sites (Gold Creek and Beauty Creek) were characterized by abandoned mines in the headwaters of the streams, while a stream absent of any local historic mining (Bumblebee Creek) served as a reference site. Whole tadpoles were pooled and treated using EPA Method 3050B and analyzed for dissolved metal concentration (ug/g) using ICP-MS. We found the average metal concentrations in tadpoles (ug/g) at mining sites were generally higher than the reference site. Cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) were significantly higher in tadpoles at Gold Creek when compared with the reference site. These results are consistent with other studies indicating metals from historic mining activity are still evident in these stream communities.
|Commitee:||Brugam, Richard, Lin, Zhi-Qing|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 53/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Ascaphus, Gold creek, Heavy metals, Idaho, Mining, Tailed frog|
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