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Journal Articles Science of the Total Environment Year : 2024

Metal pollution drives earthworm biodiversity in urban lawns


Urban soils represent hotspots of metallic trace elements (MTEs) pollution. Despite the critical impact of soil organisms on soil ecosystem services, there is limited understanding regarding the effects of MTE levels in urban soils on these organisms. This is particularly surprising considering that earthworms, key organisms for soil ecosystems, are commonly used in MTE toxicity tests. This research investigates the impact of MTE pollution on earthworm communities in lawns within the city of Paris. In this study, we sampled a comprehensive array of earthworm communities, totalling 965 individuals from 13 distinct species belonging to Lumbricus, Aporrectodea, Allolobophora and Octolasion genera. These communities were collected from three different locations within 18 parks. At these sites, we assessed the concentrations of eight metals and metalloids in the soil (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni, Pb and Hg), along with selenium concentrations and eight fundamental soil parameters, to examine the association between earthworm communities and soil attributes. Median MTE concentrations exceeded recommended statutory limit values by approximately 20% (0.6 mg/kg Cd), 30% (36.8 mg/kg Cu), 40% (122.0 mg/kg Zn), and up to 90% (0.6 mg/kg Hg and 99.7 Pb). Nevertheless, these concentrations exhibited considerable variability both between and within parks, correlating with variations in earthworm community structures. Specifically, our results highlight that Cu concentrations in the soil explain about 6% of the variation in the assemblage of earthworm species. Our findings underscore the importance of considering MTE pollution levels to enhance our comprehension of earthworm distribution in urban environments and its effects on the ecosystem services provided by urban lawns.
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hal-04385393 , version 1 (10-01-2024)




M. Chatelain, François Nold, Jérôme Mathieu. Metal pollution drives earthworm biodiversity in urban lawns. Science of the Total Environment, 2024, pp.169867. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.169867⟩. ⟨hal-04385393⟩
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