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Behaviour and speciation of mercury in the Scheldt estuary (water sediments and benthic organisms)
Baeyens, W.F.J.; Meuleman, C.; Muhaya, B.; Leermakers, M. (1998). Behaviour and speciation of mercury in the Scheldt estuary (water sediments and benthic organisms), in: Baeyens, W.F.J. (Ed.) Trace metals in the Westerschelde Estuary: a case-study of a polluted, partially anoxic estuary. Hydrobiologia, 366(1): pp. 63-79
In: Baeyens, W.F.J. (Ed.) (1998). Trace metals in the Westerschelde Estuary: a case-study of a polluted, partially anoxic estuary. Hydrobiologia, 366(1). Developments in Hydrobiology, 128. ISBN 0-7923-5158-4. 167 pp., more
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Baeyens, W.F.J.; Meuleman, C.; Muhaya, B.; Leermakers, M. (1998). Behaviour and speciation of mercury in the Scheldt estuary (water sediments and benthic organisms). Hydrobiologia 366: 63-79, more

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 121768 [ OMA ]

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    mercury; methylmercury; biogeochemical cycling; estuaries; benthicorganisms

Authors  Top 
  • Baeyens, W.F.J., more
  • Meuleman, C.
  • Muhaya, B.
  • Leermakers, M., more

Abstract
    Surface waters, sediments and the polychaete Nereis diversicolor were sampled in the Scheldt Estuary between 1990 and 1994. In surface waters particulate Hg (Hgp) concentrations ranged from 350-1610 ng g-¹. They are essentially controlled by physical mixing of polluted fluvial particulates with relatively unpolluted marine particulates, but unaffected by seasonal changes. Dissolved Hg species, on the other hand, show large seasonal variations essentially controlled by the redox conditions in the estuary, as well as by bacterial and phytoplankton activity. Total dissolved (HgTD) concentrations ranged from 0.5 to 3.0 ng l-¹ with 10 to 90% as reactive Hg. High concentrations of HgTD are found in the upper estuary in the winter and decrease rapidly with increasing salinity. In summer HgTD concentrations are low in the anoxic upper estuary and increase as oxygen is restored in the estuary. Significant variations were observed in dissolved monomethyl Hg (MMHg) concentrations with concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 0.120 ng 1-¹ in the winter and 0.08 to 0.6 ng 1-¹ in summer and autumn. Particulate MMHg ranged from 2 to 6 ng g-¹ in winter and from 4 to 10 ng g-¹ in summer and accounted for 20 to 80% of the total MMHg. Hg° concentrations ranged from 0.02 to 0.130 ng l-¹and are higher in summer than in winter. In the lower estuary a positive correlation between Hg° and phytoplankton pigments was observed. Sediments and the polychaete N. diversicolor were sampled on the intertidal flat Groot Buitenschoor. HgT concentrations in surface sediments ranged from 144 to 1890 ng g-¹ and MMHg from 0.8 to 6 ng g-¹ accounting 0.4 to 0.8% of the total mercury present. Both total Hg (HgT) and MMHg concentrations increased with increased organic matter content and anoxic conditions. On the other hand, accumulation of HgT and MMHg was her in N. diversicolor living in coarse grain sandy sediments than in muddy sediments. MMHg concentrations N. diversicolor ranged from 2.2 to 20.9 ng g-¹ accounting for an average of 18% of the HgT. Seasonal variations significantly affected Hg speciation in sediments and N. diversicolor. Higher HgT concentrations were found in the sediments in autumn and winter, whereas MMHg concentrations increased in spring and summer. Likewise, higher MMHg concentrations were also observed in N. diversicolor in spring and summer.

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