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Title: Spatial and temporal variations in trace metal concentrations in sediments, pore water of the Forth estuary, and their potential impact on water quality
Authors: Alharbi, Mohammed Musad Mohammed
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The concentrations of trace metals: cadmium, copper, nickel, lead and mercury, in addition to aluminium, iron and manganese were determined in the sediments and pore water (except aluminium) of the Forth estuary. Organic matter (as loss on ignition), total organic carbon (TOe), total organic nitrogen (TON), particle size and redox potential were also determined in the sediments. In addition, chloride, sulphate, conductivity, alkalinity, pH, dissolved organic carbon, phosphate and nitrate were determined in the sediments pore water. Trace metals in the pore water were determined using a modified preconcentration technique and measurements were carried out by graphite furnace. Mercury was measured using the p.s.a mercury specific fluorescence detector. organic matter (TOC & TON) in the sediments were measured using CHNS/O analyzer. Samples were collected at seasonal intervals for a period of 18 months on board the survey vessel "Forth Ranger". Six stations were selected to represent upper, middle and lower estuary. Sediment cores collected at each station were subjected to centrifugation under nitrogen gas atmosphere to separate the pore water after being sectioned at 2.5 cm intervals for a depth of 10 centimetres. Concentrations of trace metals in the Forth estuary varied from station to station and from one season to another. Mean concentrations for sediments were as follows (mg\kg): lead, 56.9; cadmium, 0.22; copper, 38.9; nickel, 33.7 and mercury, 1.86. For pore water, the mean concentraxxi tions (Jlg\l) were as follows: lead, 3.14; cadmium, 1.86; copper, 31.9; nickel, 24.7 and mercury, 0.075. Measurements of sulphates, nitrates, phosphate, conductivity and dissolved organic carbon were used to examine the processes controlling their distributions in the pore water. The results indicated that the distributions of nutrients (phosphate and nitrate) in the upper 10 cm seemed to be controlled by macro-infaunal irrigation activities and their values varied according to the overlying water conditions. The distributions of trace metals in the sediments were found to be controlled by particle size and organic matter both spatially and temporally. Vertical distribution of trace metals in the pore water were found to be controlled by redox potential variations especially for iron and manganese. Concentrations of trace metals (Pb, Hg, Ni, Cd and CU) in the pore water were found to be higher than that in the overlying water. Enrichment factors were limited to 10-50 fold increase. Lead and mercury were 10 fold higher while 50 fold higher were found for nickel, copper and cadmium. Benthic flux calculations showed a significant flux of trace metals both in the summer and winter. However, flux of copper, nickel and lead tended to increase in the summer. Spatially, the lower estuary showed a higher flux of trace metals than the upper and middle reaches of the estuary.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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