In comparison to the extensively documented mercury (Hg) biomagnification in food chains of aquatic/or aquatic-related systems, Hg biomagnification in food chains in strictly terrestrial systems is poorly explored.
In a study published in Environmental Pollution, researchers reported Hg biomagnification through food webs in a monoculture subtropical pine forest in southwest China.
The study was jointly completed by researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and Institute of Geochemistry.
The researchers placed artificial nest boxes in a subtropical pine forest, southwest China for great tit breeding and randomly monitored parental provisioning behavior with video cameras, allowing them to identify the most provisioned prey items to nestlings. They also performed the stable isotope analysis.
They collected samples of nestling feathers and potential prey items (invertebrates), pine needles as well as soils were from the Ailaoshan subtropical pine forest.
The researchers revealed clear THg and MeHg biomagnification through food webs (including the determined and potential food chain) in the terrestrial ecosystem.
They observed distinct transfer of both THg and MeHg from low to high TLs through the pine forest food chains with low Hg concentrations of basal resources.
They also found that the trophic magnification slope values of THg and MeHg are higher than those found in tropical freshwater and temperate forest food webs. Dietary composition played a pivotal role in Hg toxin biomagnification in food webs. I
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xishuangbanna, 666303, China