Back to search

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Seasonal mercury concentrations and the microbiome (de)methylation gene expression profile in the Svalbard reindeer

Awarded: NOK 19,999

This project aims to study the contributions of the Svalbard reindeer to mercury concentrations in the terrestrial trophic chain. We hypothesize that the reindeer are exposed to mercury loads via their diet and that both seasonal variations in mercury intake and microbial processes in its digestive tract are critical to the (de)toxification of the trophic chain at this level. To test this hypothesis, we will analyze seasonal variations in the levels of total mercury, methylmercury, and (de)methylation gene expression in samples of vegetation and feces (as appropriate) collected during the autumn (October), winter (March), and summer (July) seasons. In addition, to investigate how our findings correlate to the internal absorption and distribution of mercury in the reindeer, these results will be integrated with tissue levels obtained during the previous autumn season.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum