Comparison of Two Freshwater Turtle Species as Monitors of Environmental Contamination

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Two species of turtles that occupy different ecological niches were compared for their usefulness as monitors of contamination in freshwater ecosystems. Trachemvs scrinta (Agassiz) (yellow-bellied slider) and Chelvdra sernentina (Linnaeus) (common snapping turtle) were selected for comparison based on species abundance and differences in food habits and sediment contact. A review of the literature on contaminants in turtles and results of preliminary surveys conducted at the field sites, which are included in this study, were used to direct and focus this research project. White Oak Lake, a settling basin for low-level radioactive and nonradioactive contaminants, and Bearden Creek Embayment, an ... continued below

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Meyers-Schone, L. January 1, 1990.

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Description

Two species of turtles that occupy different ecological niches were compared for their usefulness as monitors of contamination in freshwater ecosystems. Trachemvs scrinta (Agassiz) (yellow-bellied slider) and Chelvdra sernentina (Linnaeus) (common snapping turtle) were selected for comparison based on species abundance and differences in food habits and sediment contact. A review of the literature on contaminants in turtles and results of preliminary surveys conducted at the field sites, which are included in this study, were used to direct and focus this research project. White Oak Lake, a settling basin for low-level radioactive and nonradioactive contaminants, and Bearden Creek Embayment, an uncontaminated reference site upriver, were used as study sites in the investigation of turtles as indicators of chemical contamination. Turtles were analyzed for concentrations of strontium-go, cesium-137, cobalt 60, and mercury in specific target tissues, and for single-stranded DNA breaks, a non-specific indicator of possible exposure to genotoxic agents in the environment. Significantly higher concentrations of {sup 90}Sr, {sup 137}Cs, {sup 60}Co, and mercury were detected in turtles from White Oak Lake than in turtles from the reference site. In addition, turtles from White Oak Lake contained a significantly greater amount of DNA damage than those from the reference site. Although this suggests greater exposure of White Oak Lake turtles to genotoxic agents, further studies are needed to establish the cause of the enhanced amount of single-stranded breaks. Interspecific comparisons of the turtles from White Oak Lake indicated that diet may play a significant role in the exposure of turtles to certain contaminants. No difference was detected between the concentrations of {sup 90}Sr, {sup 137}Cs, {sup 60}Co between the two species.

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 1990

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-11460
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814413 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814413
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc739772

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  • January 1, 1990

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Dec. 16, 2016, 5:10 p.m.

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Meyers-Schone, L. Comparison of Two Freshwater Turtle Species as Monitors of Environmental Contamination, report, January 1, 1990; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc739772/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.