Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium in hair of deer from areas of contrasting soil productivity

  • Jones, Robert L.1
  • Weeks, Harmon P.2
  • 1 University of Illinois, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, 1102 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL, 61801 , Urbana
  • 2 Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, 1159 Forestry Building, West Lafayette , West Lafayette
Published Article
Biological Trace Element Research
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1998
DOI: 10.1007/BF02783968
Springer Nature


Differences in mineral nutrient composition of soils have been considered to affect health and population characteristics of free-ranging animals, particularly herbivores. Contents of Ca, Mg, and K in hair of female fawn white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were measured for eight consecutive years to determine if soil and annual effects occurred in two areas of contrasting soil productivity in Illinois. Soil differences may account for some of the autumnal weight difference (7.2 kg for 4 yrs of observation) observed in fawn does from the areas. Ca, Mg, and K were assayed, because these macronutrients were known to differ in soils of the areas and were presumed to differ in forages. In 6 of the 8 yrs, at least one element was significantly different (P ≤ 0.05) between areas. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) differences for K occurred in 5 yr, for Ca in 4 yr, and for Mg in 2 yr. Ca and Mg were lower in hair in 7 yr from deer collected from the area in which extractable Ca and Mg were higher in soils; that is, hair Ca and Mg levels tended to be inversely related to levels of plant-available Ca and Mg in soil. For 7 of the 8 yr, K content was lower in hair from the area of lower soil K content. Within one area, between-year differences occurred for Ca and K and for Ca and Mg in the other area. Between-year differences in diet selection and annual climatic effects on mineral uptake of forages, among other factors, may account for some of the latter differences. Results for hair analyses suggest that macronutrient differences in Ca, Mg, and K occur in the diets of these populations and may account for some of the weight difference observed between the areas.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times