Mercury (Hg) mobility at the sediment-water interface was investigated during a laboratory incubation experiment conducted with highly contaminated sediments (13 µg g-1) of the Gulf of Trieste. Undisturbed sediment was collected in front of the Isonzo River mouth, which inflows Hg-rich suspended material originating from the Idrija (NW Slovenia) mining district. Since hypoxic and anoxic conditions at the bottom are frequently observed and can influence the Hg biogeochemical behaviour, a redox oscillation was simulated in the laboratory, at in situ temperature, using a dark flux chamber. Temporal variations of several parameters were monitored simultaneously: dissolved Hg and methylmercury (MeHg), O2, NH4+, NO3-+NO2-, PO43-, H2S, dissolved Mn2+, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC). Under anoxic conditions, both Hg (665 ng m2 day-1) and MeHg (550 ng m2 day-1) fluxed from sediments into the water column, whereas re-oxygenation caused concentrations of MeHg and Hg to rapidly drop, probably due to re-adsorption onto Fe/Mn-oxyhydroxides and enhanced demethylation processes. Hence, during anoxic events, sediments of the Gulf of Trieste may be considered as an important source of dissolved Hg species for the water column. On the contrary, re-oxygenation of the bottom compartment mitigates Hg and MeHg release from the sediment, thus acting as a natural “defence” from possible interaction between the metal and the aquatic organisms.

A laboratory-incubated redox oscillation experiment to investigate Hg fluxes from highly contaminated coastal marine sediments (Gulf of Trieste, Northern Adriatic Sea)

EMILI, ANDREA;COVELLI, STEFANO
2014

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) mobility at the sediment-water interface was investigated during a laboratory incubation experiment conducted with highly contaminated sediments (13 µg g-1) of the Gulf of Trieste. Undisturbed sediment was collected in front of the Isonzo River mouth, which inflows Hg-rich suspended material originating from the Idrija (NW Slovenia) mining district. Since hypoxic and anoxic conditions at the bottom are frequently observed and can influence the Hg biogeochemical behaviour, a redox oscillation was simulated in the laboratory, at in situ temperature, using a dark flux chamber. Temporal variations of several parameters were monitored simultaneously: dissolved Hg and methylmercury (MeHg), O2, NH4+, NO3-+NO2-, PO43-, H2S, dissolved Mn2+, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC). Under anoxic conditions, both Hg (665 ng m2 day-1) and MeHg (550 ng m2 day-1) fluxed from sediments into the water column, whereas re-oxygenation caused concentrations of MeHg and Hg to rapidly drop, probably due to re-adsorption onto Fe/Mn-oxyhydroxides and enhanced demethylation processes. Hence, during anoxic events, sediments of the Gulf of Trieste may be considered as an important source of dissolved Hg species for the water column. On the contrary, re-oxygenation of the bottom compartment mitigates Hg and MeHg release from the sediment, thus acting as a natural “defence” from possible interaction between the metal and the aquatic organisms.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2760584
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