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Temporal and spatial distribution of trace metals in the Rufiji delta mangrove, Tanzania

Minu, Andrew, Routh, Joyanto, Dario, Mårten, Bilosnic, Mario, Kalén, Rikard, Val Klump, J., Machiwa, John F.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2018 v.190 no.6 pp. 336
arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mangrove forests, mangroves, nickel, pollution, river deltas, rivers, sediments, urban development, watersheds, weathering, zinc, Tanzania
Spatial and temporal distribution of trace metals and their cycling is a key issue for understanding the ongoing biogeochemical processes in coastal environments. Sediment cores were collected from six different sampling locations from the Rufiji delta mangrove forests in southeastern coastal Tanzania that are perceived to be impacted by urban development and agricultural activities in the catchment, and pollution in upstream sections of the Rufiji River. The chronology and sediment accumulation rates at these sampling sites were derived based on the distribution of ²¹⁰Pbₑₓcₑₛₛ method. The trace metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) were sequentially extracted as per the BCR method and analyzed. The results indicate that the mass accumulation rates range from 0.40 g cm⁻² year⁻¹ (cores NR3 and NR4) to 1.75 g cm⁻² year⁻¹ (core SR1). Trace metals in the cores are mainly associated with the residual phase and their abundances in sediments are ranked as Cr > Zn > Ni > Cu > Pb > Cd. The results imply that trace metals in the Rufiji delta mangroves are mainly of crustal origin, and they are less sensitive to weathering. Further, these metals are least available for uptake by plants and they pose limited threat to the biota.