Seasonal changes of mercury speciation in the coastal sediments

Jacek Bełdowski , Marta Szubska , Magdalena Bełdowska , Katarzyna Jankowska , Ewa Kotlarska , Bożena Graca


Purpose. Mercury speciation in sediments is linked to environmental conditions and processes. Domination of particular mercury species depends on its source, displays considerable seasonal behavior, and may be further modified due to oxygen levels, icing conditions, or the input of fresh organic matter. The purpose of this study was to examine the coastal area of the Gulf of Gdańsk in terms of mercury contamination and the influence of seasonal environmental changes on its speciation. Materials and methods. In three highly dynamic coastal sites, mercury speciation in sediments was studied in relation to other environmental parameters (redox conditions, organic matter concentration, bacteria abundance, etc.). Sediment and water samples were collected monthly during a 3-year study. Sequential extraction of sediments was used for identification of four inorganic mercury species: dissolved, bound with fulvic and humic acids, mercury sulfide, and residual fraction. Cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry (CV-AFS) was used for extracts and liquid sample analysis. Total mercury in sediments was measured with atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Changes in salinity were analyzed by measurements of chloride and sulfate ion concentrations using ion chromatography. Bacteria number and biomass were measured by direct counting using epifluorescence microscopy. Results and discussion. Seasonal changes in mercury speciation were observed at all sites and attributed to different processes. Labile mercury fraction contribution varied from 0 to 80%. The speciation patterns varied locally as the stations selected for the study are diversified in terms of anthropogenic impact, water dynamics, and output from land. Mercury concentrations at all stations fluctuated during phytoplankton blooms, icing of marine waters, precipitation, or increased surface runoff from the land. In this local scale, the global climate changes are visible already as environmental conditions in studied area changed in comparison to elder research. Conclusions. Obtained results suggest that although mercury emissions to the environment have decreased in recent years, local weather conditions, which may be intensified by climate change, seriously affect the bioavailability of past mercury deposits in coastal sediments.
Author Jacek Bełdowski
Jacek Bełdowski,,
, Marta Szubska
Marta Szubska,,
, Magdalena Bełdowska (FOG / IO / DMChEP)
Magdalena Bełdowska,,
- Division of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection
, Katarzyna Jankowska
Katarzyna Jankowska,,
, Ewa Kotlarska
Ewa Kotlarska,,
, Bożena Graca (FOG / IO / DMChEP)
Bożena Graca,,
- Division of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection
Journal seriesJournal of Soils and Sediments, ISSN 1439-0108, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.6
Keywords in EnglishBaltic Sea, chemical speciation, climate changes, mercury sediments
ASJC Classification1904 Earth-Surface Processes; 1913 Stratigraphy
Languageen angielski
LicenseOther; published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)30
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 30.0, 03-02-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 2; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.119; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 2.669 (2) - 2018=3.011 (5)
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