Cadmium release caused by the die-back of the saltmarsh cord grass Spartina anglica in Poole Harbour (UK)

This source preferred by Roger Herbert

Authors: Huebner, R., Herbert, R.J.H. and Astin, K.B.

Journal: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Volume: 87

Pages: 553-560

ISSN: 0272-7714

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2010.02.010

As in many other areas, the perennial cord grass Spartina anglica C.E. Hubbard has been extremely successful at colonising the English and Irish south coasts, but it is dying back for reasons that are not completely understood. The present study considers the relationship between die-back and metal concentrations in estuarine sediment. No obvious impact of the metal contamination on the S. anglica growth/die-back could be detected in the study zone, Poole Harbour, although the die-back did seem to have substantially influenced the metal concentrations in the sediments of the estuary. Based on core profiles, the remaining patches of S. anglica still retain elevated concentrations and the overall cadmium concentrations in the sediments have risen since 1925. However, considerable quantities of the cadmium stored in the sediment by S. anglica appear to have been washed out rapidly in the die-back zones. Should serious erosion of the saltmarsh occur, triggered for example by sea-level rise, then sudden and high levels of cadmium release may cause harmful effects to marine biota.

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Authors: Hübner, R., Herbert, R.J.H. and Astin, K.B.

Journal: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Volume: 87

Issue: 4

Pages: 553-560

ISSN: 0272-7714

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2010.02.010

As in many other areas, the perennial cord grass Spartina anglica C.E. Hubbard has been extremely successful at colonising the English and Irish south coasts, but it is dying back for reasons that are not completely understood. The present study considers the relationship between die-back and metal concentrations in estuarine sediment. No obvious impact of the metal contamination on the S. anglica growth/die-back could be detected in the study zone, Poole Harbour, although the die-back did seem to have substantially influenced the metal concentrations in the sediments of the estuary. Based on core profiles, the remaining patches of S. anglica still retain elevated concentrations and the overall cadmium concentrations in the sediments have risen since 1925. However, considerable quantities of the cadmium stored in the sediment by S. anglica appear to have been washed out rapidly in the die-back zones. Should serious erosion of the saltmarsh occur, triggered for example by sea-level rise, then sudden and high levels of cadmium release may cause harmful effects to marine biota. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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