Gennadiy D. Kataev, PhD, Senior Researcher of the Lapland State Nature Biosphere Reserve (184506, Russia, Murmansk region, Monchegorsk, Zelenyi Lane, 8); e-mail:

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Kataev G.D. 2017. The impact of industrial emissions of copper-nickel smelter complex on the status of populations and communities of small mammals in the Kola Peninsula. Nature Conservation Research 2(Suppl. 2): 19–27. DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2017.033

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The population status of the small mammals, Micromammalia, was studied in the central mountain and taiga part of the Kola Peninsula in the Lapland Biosphere Reserve and its buffer zone. For this purpose, control groups of animals were selected at a different distance from the Severonikel' industrial complex which is considered as the largest metallurgical company in Europe. It produces nickel, copper and other non-ferrous metals. The study sites were located at 4–30 km from the local source of industrial pollution. The analysis of population dynamics, faunistic structure and biological parameters of mass species of Soricidae, Myomorpha has revealed the differences in habitats depending on the distance to the industrial complex. The results of the chemical analysis of organs and tissue samples of small rodents, their morpho-physiological and genetic characteristics within emission plume were analysed. The abundance of the studied Mammalia species was the lowest at 5 km north and 7 km south of the metallurgical industrial complex. According to our results, animals in a zone of increased industrial emission (sulfur dioxide, compounds of heavy metals) concentrations had more deviations from the biological norms in comparison with the same species from less polluted areas. Long-term (1936–2014) abundance dynamics of Clethrionomys glareolus was presented due to the new ecological situation in the region and reduction of the volume of sulfur dioxide emission by the Severonikel' industrial complex. This biotesting method using mammals as study objects may be applied for the definition of ecologically safe level criteria of heavy metal production and it may be used in studies of similar ecological situations.


biological indicators, ecotoxicology, heavy metals, mammals, mining and metallurgical company, monitoring, pathology

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Received: 07.02.2017

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