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Contaminant exposure in relation to spatio-temporal variation in diet composition: A case study of the little owl (Athene noctua)

Schipper, A.M. and Wijnhoven, S. and Baveco, H. and Van den Brink, N.W. (2012) Contaminant exposure in relation to spatio-temporal variation in diet composition: A case study of the little owl (Athene noctua). Environmental Pollution, 163, 109-116. ISSN 0269-7491.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2011.12.020

Abstract

We assessed dietary exposure of the little owl Athene noctua to trace metal contamination in a Dutch Rhine River floodplain area. Diet composition was calculated per month for three habitat types, based on the population densities of six prey types (earthworms, ground beetles and four small mammal species) combined with the little owl's functional response to these prey types. Exposure levels showed a strong positive relationship with the dietary fraction of earthworms, but also depended on the dietary fraction of common voles, with higher common vole fractions resulting in decreasing exposure levels. Spatio-temporal changes in the availability of earthworms and common voles in particular resulted in considerable variation in exposure, with peaks in exposure exceeding a tentative toxicity threshold. These findings imply that wildlife exposure assessments based on a predefined, average diet composition may considerably underestimate local or intermittent peaks in exposure.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:10267
Deposited On:12 Apr 2012 13:06
Last Modified:22 Aug 2013 11:54

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