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An almost completed pollution-recovery cycle reflected by sediment geochemistry and benthic foraminiferal assemblages in a Swedish–Norwegian Skagerrak fjord
- Polovodova Asteman, Irina, Hanslik, Daniela, Nordberg, Kjell
- Marine pollution bulletin 2015 v.95 no.1 pp. 126-140
- Retaria, ecosystems, fauna, geochemistry, heavy metals, hypoxia, paper, pollutants, pulp and paper industry, sediments, stratigraphy, water pollution, Scandinavia
- During the 20th century Idefjord was considered one of the most polluted marine areas in Scandinavia. For decades it received high discharges from paper/pulp industry, which made it anoxic and extremely polluted by heavy metals and organic contaminants. Today the fjord is close to fulfil a complete pollution-recovery cycle, which is recorded in its sediment archives. Here we report results from five sediment cores studied for TC, C/N, heavy metals and benthic foraminifera. All of the cores have laminations deposited during 1940–1980s and indicative of long-lasting anoxia; high TC and heavy metal content, poor foraminiferal faunas and lack of macrofauna. The upper part of the cores deposited since 1980s shows a gradual pollutant decrease and partial foraminiferal recovery. The majority of foraminiferal species in Idefjord are agglutinated opportunistic and stress-tolerant taxa, which to some extent tolerate hypoxia and are early colonisers of previously disturbed environments. The current study demonstrates a value of benthic foraminiferal stratigraphy as a useful tool in understanding processes driving environmental degradation and recovery of coastal ecosystems.