Occurrence and accumulation of heavy metals in algal turf particulates and sediments on coral reefs

Tebbett, Sterling B., Bellwood, David R., Johnson, Erin R., and Chase, Tory J. (2022) Occurrence and accumulation of heavy metals in algal turf particulates and sediments on coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 184. 114113.

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Algal turfs form a critical interface on coral reefs that interacts with several key ecosystem processes. While we know these turfs have a remarkable propensity to accumulate sediments, which can have a range of ecosystem impacts, their role as sinks for heavy metals remains largely unexamined. Here we quantified the concentration of 15 metals in algal turf sediments from Lizard Island and Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef, and specifically explored how the loads of arsenic, cobalt, iron and lead were related to turf length. Metal composition differed markedly between the two islands, with the composition at Orpheus Island suggesting closer links to terrestrial sediment sources. Furthermore, metal loads increased significantly with turf length, suggesting that longer turfs can accumulate these pollutants on reefs. Given that algal turfs are a crucial component of herbivorous/detritivorous trophic pathways, this could represent a key juncture at which these metals enter food chains.

Item ID: 76272
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0025-326X
Keywords: Algal turf, Epilithic algal matrix, Great barrier reef, Heavy metals, Pollution, Sedimentation
Copyright Information: Published Version: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. AAM may be made open access in an Institutional Repository under a CC BY-NC-ND license after a 24 month embargo.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: ARC FL190100062, ARC CE140100020, NSF DBI 1726705
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 08:07
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370509 Sedimentology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 100%
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