Title page for ETD etd-06102012-040408

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Yocum, Susan Marie
URN etd-06102012-040408
Title Effects of low level lead and cadmium on reproduction in Peromyscus leucopus and a study of lead concentration in small mammals from old orchards
Degree Master of Science
Department Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Scanlon, Patrick F. Committee Chair
Kirkpatrick, Roy L. Committee Member
Vaughan, Michael R. Committee Member
  • Mammals
Date of Defense 1988-03-15
Availability restricted
Lead and cadmium frequently occur together as contaminants in polluted environments such

as roadsides, urban areas, mines, and smelters. Few studies have been conducted to

examine the possible interactive effects these metals may have on reproduction of wild


The first part of this study was directed toward examining the effects of low level dietary lead

and cadmium on reproduction in Peromyscus Jeucopus. Two laboratory studies were

conducted. Treatment with combinations of 0, 1 or 4 μ/g lead acetate and/or cadmium

chloride was found to have no effect on overall health or reproductive ability of white-footed

mice. In a second, experiment mice were treated with combinations of 0 or 10 μg/g lead

acetate and/or cadmium' chloride. Treatment was continued through three generations of

mice (P1, Fl, F2); progeny of the P1 were paired with nonrelatives in the same group and

continued on the same treatment. Percentage-of pairs producing at least one litter in a ten

week period was reduced in mice receiving both lead and cadmium. By the F2 generation

only one of ten pairs produced offspring. There were minor variations in litter parameters (# pups/litter, birth weight, weanling weight and viability of litters) measured for the three

generations; however, treatment did not appear to greatly affect litters in those pairs which

had litters. In the P1 generation kidney weights were lower in mice receiving lead and

epididymidis weight was higher in mice receiving cadmium. Mice (P1) receiving cadmium and lead had lower numbers of spermatozoa/mg testis. Lead content of carcass, liver and kidneys

was analyzed in mice from the P1 generation.

The second part of this study examined the persistence of lead in the environment after the

source of contamination has been removed. Short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) trapped

in an orchard with a history of lead arsenate use had higher whole body lead concentrations

than individuals of the same species trapped in a control orchard. Within the treated orchard

lead concentrations in pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) were significantly higher than

concentrations in short-tailed shrews.

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