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(541) Metal contamination of sediments and biota in salt marshes adjoining the Arthur Kill, Staten Island, New York.
Wallace, William*,1, Powers, Evelyn1,2, Ward, Angela1,2, Alexander, Jane1, Patnaik, Pradyot2, 1 Center for Environmental Science, College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York, New York, USA2 Interstate Environmental Commission, New York, New York
ABSTRACT- The salt water marshes adjoining the Arthur Kill along the western shore of Staten Island, New York, have long been under environmental duress. Environmental impacts within the Arthur Kill include possible leachates from landfills, urban runoff, discharges from industrial and municipal treatments plants and occasional accidental spills. The focus of this study was to characterize the extent of metal contamination in sediments and biota in marshes along this heavily impacted waterway. Sediment cores and benthic macrofauna, grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) and polychaetes (Nereis virens), were collected from five creeks within the Arthur Kill. Sites were chosen based on historic and/or suspected contamination. Sediment cores were sectioned at 2cm intervals to a depth of 20cm. Grass shrimp and polychaetes from the various sites were examined for total metal body burdens, as well as subcellular metal distributions. Metal concentrations were determined by standard digestion procedures followed by analysis via ICP. Sediment metal concentrations ranged from ~2-8 g*g-1 for Cd, ~10-60 g*g-1 for As, ~100-350 g*g-1 for Zn and ~150-600 g*g-1 for Cu. Some sites exhibited subsurface peaks in all metals examined, while other sites displayed a more uniform depth distribution. Tissue concentrations in grass shrimp ranged from ~0.05-0.08 g*g-1 for Cd, ~4-8 g*g-1 for As, ~100-125 g*g-1 for Zn and ~150-350 g*g-1 for Cu, while those for polychaetes ranged from ~7-10 g*g-1 for Cd, ~7-11 g*g-1 for As, ~200-300 g*g-1 for Zn and ~100-350 g*g-1 for Cu. Subcellular metal distributions within marsh biota at some sites are suggestive of internal detoxification of accumulated metal (i.e., increased partitioning to metallothioneins), while those at other sites are suggestive of metal vulnerability (i.e., increased partitioning to organelles and enzymes). These results suggest that there are site-specific contamination concerns among these various creeks and that resident biota may be susceptible to metal toxicity if detoxification mechanisms become overwhelmed.
Key words: sediment, metals, bioaccumulation, marsh biota
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