Coastal bays and coral cays: multi-element study of Chelonia mydas forage in the Great Barrier Reef (2015–2017)

Thomas, Colette R., Bennett, William W., Garcia, Clement, Simmonds, Andrew, Honchin, Carol, Turner, Ryan, Madden Hof, Christine A., and Bell, Ian (2020) Coastal bays and coral cays: multi-element study of Chelonia mydas forage in the Great Barrier Reef (2015–2017). Science of the Total Environment, 740. 140042.

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There is increasing interest in understanding potential impacts of complex pollutant profiles to long-lived species such as the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), a threatened megaher bivore resident in north Australia. Dietary ingestion may be a key exposure route for metals in these animals and marine plants can accumulate metals at higher concentrations than the surrounding environment. We investigated concentrations of 19 metals and metalloids in C. mydas forage samples collected from a group of offshore coral cays and two coastal bays over a period of 2–3 years. Although no samples exceeded sediment quality guidelines, coastal forage Co, Fe, and V concentrations were up to 2-fold higher, and offshore forage Sr concentrations were ~3-fold higher, than global seagrass means. Principal Component Analysis differentiated coastal bay from coral cay forage according to patterns consistent with underlying terrigenous-type or marine carbonate-type sediment geochemistry, such that coastal bay forage was higher in Fe, Co,Mn, Cu, andMo (and others) but forage from coral cays was higher in Sr and U. Forage from the two coastal bay swas differentiated according to temporal variation in metal profiles,which may be associated with a more episodic sediment disturbance regime in one of the bays. For all study locations, some forage metal concentrations were higher than previously reported in the global literature. Our results suggest that forage metal profiles may be influenced by the presence of some metals in insoluble forms or bound to ultra-fine sediment particles adhered to forage surfaces. Metal concentrations in Great Barrier Reef forage may be present.

Item ID: 63740
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: Turtle diet, Seagrass, Sediment contamination, Metal profile Principal component analysis
Copyright Information: Crown Copyright © 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Banrock Station Environmental Trust
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2020 02:38
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960511 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Urban and Industrial Environments @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 30%
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