Detection of trace elements in Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) faeces in Longyearbyen, Adventdalen and Kapp Linné
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- Institutt for biologi 
The Arctic is considered a deposition and accumulation region for several possible toxic pollutions, including toxic non-essential elements, that can enter the Arctic environment via long-range transport from other anthropogenic sources in the world. The main aim of this study was to compare levels of essential and non-essential elements in Svalbard reindeer faeces from two geologically different locations at Svalbard with assumed different contamination loads. Longyearbyen and Adventdalen are both inhabitable areas with high levels of human activity including ongoing mining activity, airport activity and exhaust from cars, snow mobiles and boats. The distance from the road and the coal power plant in Longyearbyen and Adventdalen was also measured to examine if animals feeding closer to these possible sources had higher levels of toxic elements. Kapp Linné, which is situated 80km from Longyearbyen, has comparatively much lower impact from human activity, but is more exposed to oceanic input and precipitation. The distance from the ocean close to Kapp Linné was therefore measured to examine possible sources of oceanic input on the faeces.Svalbard reindeer faeces were collected in Longyearbyen, Adventdalen and Kapp Linné between 2013 and 2017. A total of 97 samples were analysed and a total of 55 elements were detected. A clear difference in element concentrations were found in Adventdalen and Longyearbyen compared to at Kapp Linné for both essential and non-essential elements as well as some differences within areas in Kapp Linné. Cu, Fe, Zn, Al, Cr and Tl were significantly higher in Adventdalen and Longyearbyen, whereas Ca, Mg, S, Cd, Pb and Se were significantly higher in Kapp Linné. Concentration differences within Kapp Linné included significantly higher levels of Se in the North and significantly lower levels of Hg in the South area. The present study clearly shows different element levels between the locations. Most of these differences can be explained either by the different geology in Adventdalen and Kapp Linné or by different sources of contamination, including both local and long-range sources. Kapp Linné experiences more precipitation during the year compared to Adventdalen and Longyearbyen and toxic elements such as Hg, Cd and Pb may enter the environment at a higher rate in this area. Indeed, a positive relationship was identified between snow-depth and faecal levels of Pb and Hg. Once in the Arctic environment, elements can be taken up by soil and plants such as moss and lichen and thus affect both the biota and the reindeer feeding at contaminated areas. No significant correlation between levels of As, Hg, Cd or Al were seen for reindeer feeding close to the road in Adventdalen, while Cd was significantly correlated with the distance to the coal power plant, with more Cd further away from the power plant. Cd was also positively correlated with distance to the ocean near Kapp Linné, with more Cd in faeces collected close to the ocean.