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The soil environment of the intertidal area in the Westerschelde
Oenema, O.; Steneker, R.; Reynders, J. (1988). The soil environment of the intertidal area in the Westerschelde, in: Hummel, H. et al. (Ed.) Hydrobiology and chemistry of the Schelde and Westerschelde: proceedings of the Schelde symposium (May 1987, Terneuzen, The Netherlands). pp. 21-30
In: Hummel, H. et al. (Ed.) (1988). Hydrobiology and chemistry of the Schelde and Westerschelde: proceedings of the Schelde symposium (May 1987, Terneuzen, The Netherlands). Delta Institute for Hydrobiological Research: Yerseke. VI, 67 pp., more

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Author keywords
    estuary; intertidal area; soil environment; biogeochemical processes; heavy metal contamination

Authors  Top 
  • Oenema, O., more
  • Steneker, R.
  • Reynders, J.

Abstract
    Hydrodynamic forces and sediment discharges determine the sedimentary environment and surface morphology of the intertidal area in the Westerschelde estuary in the S.W. Netherlands. Sandflats (clay content < 8%) are found in the central part, mudflats (> 8% clay) and especially salt marshes (> 15% clay) occur in sheltered places.The semi-terrestrial soil of the intertidal area is a complex environment where hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere interact. Surface morphology and the semi-diurnal tide may significantly modify this interaction pattern. Organic matter and constituents of the clay-size fraction are the most reactive compounds in the soil.The pathway and rate of organic matter decomposition determines the nature of many biogeochemical processes. Sulfur transformations are dominant processes in the sulfidic grey-black coloured horizons underneath the generally thin yellow-brown surface layer. The sulfur geochemistry also affects the sorption-behaviour of metals. Oxygen intrusion by diffusion, burrowing fauna and plant roots cause a local and sometimes temporary oxidation of reduced inorganic compounds. Thus, in the surface layers, and in and around tubes and roots at greater depth in the soil, a dynamic cycling occurs of redox active compound, which affects the sorption mechanism of e.g. metal-ions.

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