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Distribution patterns and pollution assessments of heavy metals in the Spartina alterniflora salt-marsh wetland of Rudong, Jiangsu province



Distribution patterns and pollution assessments of heavy metals in the Spartina alterniflora salt-marsh wetland of Rudong, Jiangsu province



Huan Jing Ke Xue= Huanjing Kexue 35(6): 2401-2410



To understand the ecological impact of Spartina alterniflora on the coastal wetland environment, field survey was carried out in July, 2010, over the intertidal areas of Rudong coast, Jiangsu province; sediment samples were collected from a series of stations with different conditions of vegetation cover and S. alterniflora growth. The contents of eight heavy metals, together with sediment composition and total organic carbon were analyzed to reveal the distribution patterns of the heavy metals. Environmental quality status was evaluated using both the index of geoaccumulation (I(geo)) and the index of the Håkanson ecological risk. The analytical results showed that the average contents of Pb, Cd, As, Hg, Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn were below the standard for the Category I sediment quality, among which Cd, Hg, Ni and Zn exceeded the sediment background value of the region. On the whole, the contents of eight heavy metals in vegetation areas were higher than those associated with the adjacent bare flat areas. These data sets indicate a non-polluted condition in term of I(geo) estimation; however, a critical state of low to moderate degrees of pollution and a low level of risk were deduced according to the index of the Håkanson potential ecological risk. Both indices suggested that the pollution level of Hg and Cd were the highest among the eight metals measured. Along the transection from seaward to landward, the contents of As, Cu and Hg, their indices of I(geo) and Håkanson ecological risk all showed an increasing tread, in accordance with the condition of vegetation cover. Along the coastline with S. alterniflora being distributed in patchiness, all metal contents and their ecological risk level values for the marshes were higher than those for the unvegetated sediments nearby; moreover, except for Hg, other seven metals exhibited relatively low values than those in the shore-normal section with a better S. alterniflora growth. These findings indicate that S. alterniflora is one of important factors to enrich the heavy metal in tidal flat sediment. Thus, ecological risk of the heavy metal is reduced or blocked, due to the filtering effect of salt-marsh, which prevents metals from entering the open sea directly. The distribution of heavy metal is influenced by a combination of colonization time of vegetation, chemical form of metals and their origins.

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Accession: 052669561

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PMID: 25158523


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