Turtles as Monitors of Chemical Contaminants in the Environment

  • Linda Meyers-Schöne
  • Barbara T. Walton
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 135)


Biota have been used increasingly in recent years to evaluate the presence of hazardous chemicals in the environment and to determine the impact of toxicants on ecosystems (e.g., Suter and Loar 1992; Hoffman et al. 1990; Clark et al. 1988; Talmage and Walton 1991; and Albers et al. 1986). Because turtles are relatively long-lived, widely distributed geographically, and found in a variety of habitats, they may be useful indicators of chemical contamination in monitoring programs. Species selection is an important consideration for a successful biological monitoring study (National Research Council 1986), and turtles offer a number of advantages as indicators of the availability of chemical and radioactive contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Meyers-Schöne et al. 1993). However, not all turtle species can be expected to be equally good choices for monitoring programs because species-specific characteristics, such as differences in food habits, habitat use, home range, age, and sex, are likely to affect the exposure of individual animals at a chemically contaminated site.


Reference Wetland Freshwater Turtle Painted Turtle Desert Tortoise National Seashore 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Meyers-Schöne
    • 1
  • Barbara T. Walton
    • 2
  1. 1.International Technology CorporationAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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