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A short note on a present-day benthic recovery status in the formerly heavily polluted Idefjord (Sweden/Norway)

Polovodova Asteman, Irina, Nordberg, Kjell
Marine pollution bulletin 2017 v.123 no.1-2 pp. 227-231
Retaria, effluents, environmental factors, fauna, geochemistry, heavy metals, pulp and paper industry, sawmills, sediments, species diversity, water pollution, North Sea, Norway, Sweden
Idefjord (Skagerrak, North Sea) has had a long pollution history due to a heavy exposure to effluents from sawmills and pulp and paper industry, which had a detrimental effect on fjord life. Earlier we presented a paper on the pollution history and benthic recovery in the fjord by studying sediment geochemistry (TOC and heavy metals) and benthic foraminifera in the sediment cores taken in the inner and the outer Idefjord. At that stage the foraminiferal (~benthic recovery) record was limited to years 2000 (inner fjord) and 2002 (outer fjord), in contrast to pollutant data reaching all the way up to 2014. In this short note we extend the foraminiferal record to year 2014 and fill the gap in the benthic recovery in the inner and the outer fjord over the last 12years. The results show that both inner and outer fjord inlets currently undergo a steady benthic recovery reflected in comeback of transitional and pre-pollution benthic foraminiferal species after 2000–2002 and towards 2014. The recovery is also supported by increasing faunal diversity, low dominance and since 2000–2002 re-appearance of calcareous foraminiferal species (Bulimina marginata, Elphidium spp., Epistominella vitrea, Hyalinea balthica and Lagena spp), which all disappeared during the period of maximum effluent discharges. At the same time, detection of opportunistic newcomers (e.g. Stainforthia fusiformis) and persisting absence of some transitional species such as Ammoscalaria tenuimargo suggests a recolonization by foraminiferal population with a different species composition as compared to the original pre-pollution community either due to changed environmental conditions or/and increased competition.