The Eurasian beaver was brought behind from nearby annihilation and now thrives opposite Europe. But this charge success story might have had during slightest one unintended and potentially damaging consequence. Scientists news in ACS’ biography Environmental Science Technology that when beavers build new dams where no prior beaver colonies existed, downstream levels of poisonous methylmercury rise, during slightest temporarily.
In a 19th century, beaver fur was in high demand, and hunters helped supply it. The animals’ numbers plummeted to as few as 1,200 in Europe, with no reported sightings in Sweden after a 1870s. Conservation measures authorised beaver populations to rebound. In Sweden alone, there are now about 130,000 — and many new dams.
While a structures are marvels of healthy construction, they also change a chemistry of a H2O they’re in. They impact a sediments, H2O flow, oxygen calm and temperature, formulating conditions that assistance modify mercury into methylmercury. A few studies have suggested dams can boost levels of this form of mercury, that can means developmental and neurological problems in animals and people. Oded Lavnoni, Frauke Ecke and colleagues wanted to take a closer look.
Over a two-year period, a researchers tested a H2O upstream and downstream of 12 dams. They found that methylmercury levels downstream of newly done dams were adult to 3.5 times aloft than in a upstream water. But dams that beavers reconstructed on deserted beaver systems didn’t seem to impact methylmercury concentrations. The formula advise that safeguarding comparison dams could assistance revoke levels of methylmercury in areas colonized by a animals.