FRISCO — In a study that has implications for Colorado rivers and fish, scientists in the UK have shown that heavy metal pollution from mining has dramatically reduced genetic diversity of brown trout.
The University of Exeter researchers say their findings show that human activity can alter the genetic patterns of wild populations — an important issue in modern conservation.
Heavy metal river pollution in the southwestern part of the UK is linked to mining activities dating back hundreds of years. Metals like lead, cadmium zinc are toxic to trout. But some populations of brown trout in the UK have evolved to live in water with metal concentrations that would kill other fish that haven’t adapted,” said Dr, Andrew King, a research fellow in biosciences at the University of Exeter.