The Snow Vole and Tatra Marmot as Different Rodent Bioindicators of Lead Pollution in an Alpine Environment: A Hibernation Effect
Marián Janiga 1  
,   Zuzana Ballová 1  
,   Mária Angelovičová 1  
,   Ján Korňan 2  
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Institute of High Mountain Biology, University of Žilina, Slovakia
Administration of the Kysuce Protected Landscape Area, Čadca, Slovakia
Zuzana Ballová   

Institute of High Mountain Biology University of Žilina, Tatranská Javorina 7, 05956 Tatranská Javorina, Slovak Republic
Submission date: 2018-03-06
Final revision date: 2018-07-04
Acceptance date: 2018-07-12
Online publication date: 2019-04-28
Publication date: 2019-05-28
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2019;28(5):3215–3226
We compared the content of lead (Pb) and other trace metals in various bone and tooth tissues of two alpine rodent species with different behaviours. Hibernating marmots accumulated less Pb than the non-hibernating and shorter-lived snow voles. It was confirmed that calcium (Ca) is substituted by Pb in Tatra marmot teeth and skull bones. Ca concentration in marmot bones is likely maintained even during this inactive period and this mechanism may reduce Pb accumulation in bones of hibernating marmots. Pb accumulation in bone and tooth tissues may be slightly mitigated by zinc content and also by increased strontium (Sr) in bones. Trace metals deposited differently in tooth and skull bone tissues of marmots. Frontal and parietal skull bones contained significantly more Pb than marmot incisors, but the difference was not significant when comparing skull bones with molars. Molars are static and could reflect past exposure of heavy metals, whereas incisors renew themselves, and would not.