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Metal soil pollution differentially affects both the behaviour and exposure of A. caliginosa and L. terrestris: a mesocosm study

Abstract : The effects on two earthworm species of a gradient of metal contamination in soil collected close to a 50-year-old lead recycling factory were investigated in mesocosms filled with soil sampled at three distances from the factory (10, 30 and 60 m). After 5 weeks of exposure, earthworm litter consumption and weight change were measured. Burrow systems were analysed using Xray tomography, and water infiltration was measured. No significant differences in earthworm weight or activity were observed between mesocosms filled with soil from 30 and 60 m. In contrast, both earthworm species significantly lost weight and burrowed less in the soil sampled at 10 m. In the cores filled with the soil collected at 10-m distance, Aporrectodea caliginosa avoided the highly contaminated first layer (0–5 cm) and burrowed deeper whereas Lumbricus terrestris burrowed relatively more in this layer. We assume that these different reactions are associated with their ecological types. Epi-anecic earthworms forage litter at the soil surface, whereas endogeic earthworms are geophagous and thus are able to forage deeper. This was further corroborated by the bioaccumulation factors measured for each species: for L. terrestris, BAF values for Pb and Cd only decreased slightly in the 10-m soil correlating with their overall reduced activity. However, BAF values for A. caliginosa were 20-fold lower compared to those observed in soil from 30 and 60 m. These modifications in burrowing behaviour in the 10-m mesocosms resulted in a significant and marked decrease in water infiltration rates but only for L. terrestris.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 5:21:43 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 4:15:59 AM

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Stéphane Mombo, Christophe Laplanche, Philippe Besson, Stéphane Sammartino, Eva Schreck, et al.. Metal soil pollution differentially affects both the behaviour and exposure of A. caliginosa and L. terrestris: a mesocosm study. Biology and Fertility of Soils, Springer Verlag, 2018, 54 (3), pp.319-328. ⟨10.1007/s00374-017-1261-6⟩. ⟨hal-02622333⟩

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