Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Mercury Analysis in Rafinesque Big Eared Bat Populations

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) from atmospheric deposition from coal-burning power plants and other anthropogenic sources was analyzed in Rafinesque Big Eared Bats from Mammoth Cave National Park. The mercury from water progressively moves up the food chain through insects, and eventually into bats. In 2011, 58 bats were collected and hair samples were taken for an analysis. The AMA254 Mercury Analyzer was used to determine the mercury concentration from the bat hair in parts per million. A considerable amount of mercury was discovered in the bats analyzed. The mercury concentration of juvenile Rafinesque bats averaged between 0.5-1.0 ppm. Mercury levels in adult Rafinesque bats averaged between 1.0-2.0 ppm, with female bats overall containing the highest amount of mercury. Notably, the mass and forearm length of Rafinesque bats do not appear to affect the amount of mercury the bats contain.

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Mercury Analysis in Rafinesque Big Eared Bat Populations

Mercury (Hg) from atmospheric deposition from coal-burning power plants and other anthropogenic sources was analyzed in Rafinesque Big Eared Bats from Mammoth Cave National Park. The mercury from water progressively moves up the food chain through insects, and eventually into bats. In 2011, 58 bats were collected and hair samples were taken for an analysis. The AMA254 Mercury Analyzer was used to determine the mercury concentration from the bat hair in parts per million. A considerable amount of mercury was discovered in the bats analyzed. The mercury concentration of juvenile Rafinesque bats averaged between 0.5-1.0 ppm. Mercury levels in adult Rafinesque bats averaged between 1.0-2.0 ppm, with female bats overall containing the highest amount of mercury. Notably, the mass and forearm length of Rafinesque bats do not appear to affect the amount of mercury the bats contain.