Applying foraminiferal stratigraphy as a biomarker for heavy metal contamination and mining impact in a fiord in West Greenland.

Abstract:

:Sulphidic mine waste disposed in marine environments constitutes an environmental risk to aquatic life due to potential uptake and accumulation of heavy metals in biota. Fiord sediments near the former Black Angel Mine in West Greenland are contaminated by lead and zinc as a result of submarine tailings disposal in 1973-1990. In 1999 cores were taken up to 10 km away from the disposal area. Analyses include heavy metals, radiochemical dating (210Pb) and high-resolution foraminiferal stratigraphy. The mining operation resulted in significant changes in the assemblage composition. In addition, up to 20% of the Melonis barleeanus population found in sediment deposited during nearby tailings disposal was deformed compared to a natural background of less than 5%. Throughout cores representing the last 100 years of sedimentation, the total numbers and frequency of morphological abnormalities among M. barleeanus revealed some correlation with heavy metals concentrations (up to r2 = 79%). We conclude that abnormalities among foraminifera may represent a useful biomarker for evaluating trends in the biological impact resulting of submarine tailings disposal as well as long-term environmental impact and subsequent recovery.

journal_name

Mar Environ Res

authors

Elberling B,Knudsen KL,Kristensen PH,Asmund G

doi

10.1016/s0141-1136(02)00219-2

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2003-04-01 00:00:00

pages

235-56

issue

3

eissn

0141-1136

issn

1879-0291

pii

S0141-1136(02)00219-2

journal_volume

55

pub_type

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