Mercury contamination of the snow voles (Chionomys nivalis) in the West Carpathians

  • Bibiána Martinková
  • Marián Janiga
  • Andrea PogányováEmail author
Research Article


The subject of this research is mercury pollution in the alpine zone of the High Tatra Mountains (the West Carpathians). The snow vole (Chionomys nivalis) was chosen as a bioindicator. Mercury concentrations in the tail tips from captured individuals were examined. The samples were collected over the span of 2 years, from May 2016 to November 2017. The smaller (1-year-old) individuals had higher mercury concentrations in their tails than the bigger (2-year-old) individuals, suggesting recent aerial contamination of alpine habitats. The amount of mercury found in the tails did not differ between sexes. The differences in mercury concentration between animals caught in the spring and autumn were also insignificant. The possible relationship between mercury in the tissues and the seasonal variability of the water cycle in the mountains (snow melting, precipitation) is discussed.


Chionomys nivalis Mercury Alpine zone Pollution High Tatra Mountains Biele plesá valley 



We gratefully thank Mrs. Amanda Clarahan for English language editing and proofreading.

Funding information

This research was funded by ITMS project number 26210120006 focused on completion of the high alpine research center in the Slovak Republic - Research Institute of Alpine Biology of the University of Žilina for the needs of synergic cooperation in a network of similar workplaces in Europe.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bibiána Martinková
    • 1
  • Marián Janiga
    • 1
  • Andrea Pogányová
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of High Mountain BiologyUniversity of ŽilinaŽilinaSlovakia

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