Fate of contaminants in Baltic Sea sediment ecosystems : the role of bioturbation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Aquatic sediments are of major importance for the cycling of environmental pollutants, acting as both sinks and secondary sources of contaminants to the ecosystem. Sediment-living organisms can affect the fate and transport of contaminants through activities like feeding and burrowing, collectively called bioturbation. Apart from high contaminant levels, the Baltic benthic ecosystem is affected by stressors such as eutrophication-induced anoxic conditions and invading alien species. The main objectives of this thesis were to determine the effects of bioturbation on contaminant fluxes in Baltic Sea sediments and to increase the understanding of how these other stressors act together upon contaminant fate in the benthic ecosystem.
Bioturbation affected contaminants in a species-specific way. The native species Monoporeia affinis and Macoma balthica increased the incorporation of BDE-99 and Cd deposited on the sediment surface, enhancing their retention in the sediment. The invasive polychaete Marenzelleria sp. did not contribute to the incorporation of surface-deposited contaminants, however, significantly increased the release of contaminants back to the water column. Reoxygenation of anoxic laminated sediments and bioturbation by Marenzelleria increased the sediment-to-water flux of dissolved organic contaminants. When the bioturbation-driven release of PCB was compared to the release caused by physical sediment resuspension, results indicated that the continuous activities of benthic infauna can be just as, or even more, important than physical disturbance for the remobilization of sediment-bound contaminants. Bioaccumulation was significantly higher when contaminants were deposited associated to phytoplankton compared to lignin or sediment, suggesting that there are likely seasonal differences in the mobilization of contaminants in the benthic ecosystem.
In summary, bioturbation is an important process influencing contaminant fate in Baltic Sea sediments, and the risk of remobilization of historically buried contaminants may increase with improved benthic redox conditions and the invasion of new deeper-digging species, such as Marenzelleria.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Systemekologiska institutionen , 2008. , 37 p.
Research subject Marine Ecotoxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8315ISBN: 978-91-7155-775-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-8315DiVA: diva2:200073
2008-12-12, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 09:00
Forbes, Valery, Professor
Gunnarsson, Jonas, DocentKautsky, Nils, Professor
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