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Heavy metal contamination and ecological risk in Spartina alterniflora marsh in intertidal sediments of Bohai Bay, China

Chai, Minwei, Shi, Fuchen, Li, Ruili, Shen, Xiaoxue
Marine pollution bulletin 2014 v.84 no.1-2 pp. 115-124
Spartina alterniflora, anthropogenic activities, bioavailability, bulk density, cadmium, copper, electrical conductivity, heavy metals, lead, littoral zone, multivariate analysis, risk, salt marshes, sediments, water pollution, zinc, China
To investigate the effects of Spartina alterniflora on heavy metals pollution of intertidal sediments, sediment cores of a S. alterniflora salt marsh and a mudflat in Bohai Bay, China were analyzed. The results showed that S. alterniflora caused higher total C and P, but lower bulk density and electrical conductivity. The levels of Cd, Cu and Pb were higher in S. alterniflora sediment. Both Cd and Zn were higher than the probable effect level at both sites, indicating their toxicological importance. The geo-accumulation and potential ecological risk indexes revealed higher metal contamination in S. alterniflora sediment. Multivariate analysis implied that anthropogenic activities altered mobility and bioavailability of heavy metals. The percentage of mobile heavy metals was higher in S. alterniflora sediment, indicating improvement of conversion from the immobilized fraction to the mobilized fraction. These findings indicate that S. alterniflora may facilitate accumulation of heavy metals and increase their bioavailability and mobility.