Comparison of white-footed mice and rice rats as biomonitors of polychlorinated biphenyl and metal contamination

Philip N. Smith, George P. Cobb, Frances M. Harper, Blakely M. Adair, Scott T. McMurry

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11 Scopus citations


A study was conducted to assess differences in contaminant assimilation among co-occurring white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and rice rats (Oryzomys palustris) captured at a contaminated site. Rodents were collected from five areas at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), a uranium enrichment facility. Relatively few white-footed mice (8.7%) had quantifiable concentrations of PCBs compared to 42% of rice rats (X2=6.49, d.f.=1, P<0.025), and seven of the 11 rice rats (64%) over 50 g body mass had quantifiable concentrations of PCBs in their livers. White-footed mice had higher mean concentrations of barium (P<0.0001), chromium (P=0.0010), copper (P=0.0011), lead (P=0.0335), and aluminum (P=0.0006) than rice rats at all five sampling areas. Species-specific differences in accumulation of PCBs and metals were observed and attributed to differences in habitat use and foraging strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2002



  • Metal
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl
  • Rice rat
  • Sympatric
  • White-footed mice

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