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Does pollution influence small mammal diet in the field? A metabarcoding approach in a generalist consumer

Abstract : Mammals are mainly exposed to trace metals (TMs) via consuming contaminated food. Several studies have demonstrated relationships between metal concentrations in food and in animal tissues. However, potential effects of TMs on feeding behaviour of wildlife have been poorly documented under field conditions, despite experimental evidence showing that food selection is impacted by resource contamination. Here, we test the hypothesis that the diet of a generalist rodent, the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), is altered by soil TM contamination in the field. Wood mice were sampled in spring and in autumn along a gradient of soil contamination in the surroundings of a former smelter located in northern France. Available resources in the field were inventoried, and the diet of the animals was analysed using DNA metabarcoding. We demonstrated that (a) relationship between the resource richness in the diet and their richness in the field was altered by soil metal contamination. Wood mice specialized their dietalong the gradient of soil metal contamination for both plant and invertebrate resources in spring. We also showed that (b) preference for Salicaceae, a plant family accumulating metals, decreased when soil contamination increased. These results suggest that environmental TM pollution could act as a force modulating trophic interactions in terrestrial food webs, thereby affecting wildlife exposure to contaminants by trophic route.
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Contributor : Clémentine Fritsch Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, November 18, 2019 - 12:16:43 PM
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Shinji Ozaki, Clémentine Fritsch, Benoît Valot, Frédéric Mora, Thierry Cornier, et al.. Does pollution influence small mammal diet in the field? A metabarcoding approach in a generalist consumer. Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2018, 27 (18), pp.3700-3713. ⟨10.1111/mec.14823⟩. ⟨hal-02368039⟩



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