I hope this is the right word. :-) Maybe it's bioconcentration
. Bioaccumulation is one way that low-level toxin
s in the environment
can kill or otherwise harm large predator
s. Essentially, the low-level toxins are absorbed by plants or small animals or insects as they travel through areas of pollution. Certain toxins will not be passed cleanly through these animals' systems, but will tend to accumulate under the right conditions - for example, like LSD
can build up in fatty tissue
in the animal's body. Although it's not harmful to the animal as long as it's locked into the fatty tissue, from where it is only released slowly, let's say this animal (a newt
) gets eaten by a mouse
. The mouse has just ingested the sum total
of contamination in the newt's body. It will likely therefore build up more rapidly in the mouse. A dingo
, eating mice, will accumulate the stuff fairly rapidly, and so on.
This is what (almost!) happened to the Peregrine Falcon - their prey (rodents and small birds) were accumulating DDT from cropdusting and sowing of the pesticide. Eventually, the levels built up in the falcons to the point where they couldn't reproduce.