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Heavy metals in the Peak District -- evidence from bugs in blanket bogs
Date:4/1/2008

eptible to erosion and the release of stored carbon from these bog soils is of major global concern. Bacteria in the soil increase the carbon stored in the bog environment and help protect against erosion processes, says Dr Linton. Changes in bacterial diversity make these areas more at risk from carbon release processes. This in turn may exacerbate climate change and change ecosystem functioning

The high level of heavy metals is due to the history of atmospheric pollution in these areas. This work shows that historical contaminants are still having an effect many years after first being deposited. The researchers have started to quantify the effects of long-term historical heavy metal pollution on plants and animals in the area. Information about the bacterial species present could be used as an indicator of the health and fertility of peat bogs.

Blanket bogs in the Peak District have significant international importance for nature conservation, and provide a habitat for many rare plants, such as Bog Rosemary and wild orchids, birds like the Golden Plover and animals including the rare Mountain Hare. They are also an important recreational resource, says Dr Linton. Future work will ensure that people can enjoy the beautiful Peak District National Park and all of its important natural resources for generations to come.


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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
l.goodchild@sgm.ac.uk
44-078-248-83010
Society for General Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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