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Possible impacts of Hg and PAH contamination on benthic foraminiferal assemblages: an example from the Sicilian coast, central Mediterranean

Possible impacts of Hg and PAH contamination on benthic foraminiferal assemblages: an example from the Sicilian coast, central Mediterranean
Possible impacts of Hg and PAH contamination on benthic foraminiferal assemblages: an example from the Sicilian coast, central Mediterranean
The Palermo and Augusta urban/industrial areas (Sicily) are examples of contaminated coastal environments with a relatively high influx of unregulated industrial and domestic effluents. Three sediment box-cores were collected offshore of these urban/industrial areas in water depths of 60–150 m during two cruises (summers 2003/2004), dated by 210Pb and 137Cs, and analysed for total mercury concentration and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentration. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages were also examined (in terms of their distribution and morphology) to assess the potential use of benthic foraminifera as bioindicators of pollutant input and environmental change in these Mediterranean shelf environments. The Hg and PAHs vs depth profiles show a clear increase in concentration with decreasing depth. Most of the sediments are highly enriched in mercury and show concentrations more than 20 times the background mercury value estimated for sediments from the Sicily Strait. The Hg and PAH concentrations appear to be potentially hazardous, grossly exceeding national and international regulatory guidelines. A reduction in abundance of benthic foraminifera, increasing percentages of tests with various morphological deformities, and the dominance of opportunistic species in more recent sediments can be correlated to anthropogenic impact.
Mercury, PAHs, 210Pb and 137Cs dating, Benthic foraminifera, Marine sediments, Sicily
0048-9697
168-183
Di Leonardo, Rossella
95806f9e-2b7e-4ae7-904f-afe318d1bd4e
Bellanca, Adriana
8d1d0c0a-8099-41ee-9b32-f0c443c7b048
Capotondi, Lucilla
19886c38-33d0-4ca7-8bb8-e4d7e078673b
Cundy, Andrew
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Neri, Rodolfo
cc1acf05-e89f-44b2-b794-19317ccbe2f0
Di Leonardo, Rossella
95806f9e-2b7e-4ae7-904f-afe318d1bd4e
Bellanca, Adriana
8d1d0c0a-8099-41ee-9b32-f0c443c7b048
Capotondi, Lucilla
19886c38-33d0-4ca7-8bb8-e4d7e078673b
Cundy, Andrew
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Neri, Rodolfo
cc1acf05-e89f-44b2-b794-19317ccbe2f0

Di Leonardo, Rossella, Bellanca, Adriana, Capotondi, Lucilla, Cundy, Andrew and Neri, Rodolfo (2007) Possible impacts of Hg and PAH contamination on benthic foraminiferal assemblages: an example from the Sicilian coast, central Mediterranean. Science of the Total Environment, 388 (1-3), 168-183. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.08.009).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Palermo and Augusta urban/industrial areas (Sicily) are examples of contaminated coastal environments with a relatively high influx of unregulated industrial and domestic effluents. Three sediment box-cores were collected offshore of these urban/industrial areas in water depths of 60–150 m during two cruises (summers 2003/2004), dated by 210Pb and 137Cs, and analysed for total mercury concentration and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentration. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages were also examined (in terms of their distribution and morphology) to assess the potential use of benthic foraminifera as bioindicators of pollutant input and environmental change in these Mediterranean shelf environments. The Hg and PAHs vs depth profiles show a clear increase in concentration with decreasing depth. Most of the sediments are highly enriched in mercury and show concentrations more than 20 times the background mercury value estimated for sediments from the Sicily Strait. The Hg and PAH concentrations appear to be potentially hazardous, grossly exceeding national and international regulatory guidelines. A reduction in abundance of benthic foraminifera, increasing percentages of tests with various morphological deformities, and the dominance of opportunistic species in more recent sediments can be correlated to anthropogenic impact.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 15 December 2007
Keywords: Mercury, PAHs, 210Pb and 137Cs dating, Benthic foraminifera, Marine sediments, Sicily
Organisations: Geochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 399465
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/399465
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 24c367ef-ebff-4880-9668-d2bd15b51ef2
ORCID for Andrew Cundy: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4368-2569

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Aug 2016 14:04
Last modified: 19 Nov 2019 01:33

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