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Rodentia and lagomorpha

January 1, 2001

This comprehensive review examines the extensive literature on wild rodents and lagomorphs as biomonitors of environmental contamination. This chapter covers studies dealing with exposure and effects of environmental contaminants on rodent and lagomorph species, including pesticides (organochlorines, organophosphorus and carbamate compounds, herbicides, plant growth regulators, fungicides, and rodenticides), other organic chemicals, metals, radionuclides, and other miscellaneous contaminants. Many research needs become evident when reviewing ecotoxicological data for rodents and lagomorphs, the most striking being the paucity of information on rodent families other than Muridae (mice and rats). While our ability to qualitatively extrapolate effects observed in laboratory studies to field situations is good for a variety of contaminants, quantitative predictions of dose-response relationships are poor because inter-specific variation and differences in exposure patterns between laboratory and wild species to toxicants are for the most part unknown. More sophisticated comparative toxicity studies need to be undertaken that build on previous work in order to develop a database of information, to account for and model differences in exposure pathways, to document interactions among multiple stressors, to generate data establishing thresholds, critical concentrations, and diagnostic guidelines, and even to develop physiologically-based toxicokinetic models. Such efforts may enhance our ability to predict effects on wild populations, including threatened and endangered species.

Publication Year 2001
Title Rodentia and lagomorpha
Authors S.R. Sheffield, K. Sawicka-Kapusta, J.B. Cohen, Barnett A. Rattner
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 5211098
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center