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Physico-chemical changes in metal-spiked sediments deployed in the field: Implications for the interpretation of in situ studies


Hill, Nicole and Johnston, EL and King, CK and Simpson, SL, Physico-chemical changes in metal-spiked sediments deployed in the field: Implications for the interpretation of in situ studies, Chemosphere: Chemistry, Biology and Toxicology As Related to Environmental Problems, 83, (4) pp. 400-408. ISSN 0045-6535 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd The definitive version is available at

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.12.089


Manipulative field studies are useful for investigating cause–effect relationships between contamination and benthic community health. However, there are many challenges for creating environmentally relevant exposures and determining what measurements are necessary to correctly interpret the results. This study describes the physical and chemical changes in the properties of metal-spiked marine sediments deployed in four different locations for up to 11 months. The test sediments lost between 20% and 75% of their volume during the deployment period, with the greatest losses occurring at sites affected by strong hydrodynamic activity. More sediment was lost from clean treatments than those spiked with high metal concentrations and corresponded with differential recruitment of infauna to these treatments. In general, a greater proportion of spiked-metals remained at lower energy sites (48–85%) than at higher energy sites (15–48%). The decreased metal concentrations were attributed mostly to the loss of the metal-spiked sediments (through resuspension) and their dilution with sediments depositing from the surrounding environment. A range of recommendations are made for optimising the information gained from field-based studies using metal-spiked sediments. These include the careful documentation of physico- chemical sediment properties pre- and post-deployment, the use of co-located sediment traps and knowledge of site-specific hydrodynamic processes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:In situ Manipulative studies Sediment Metals Fauna Hydrodynamics
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Hill, Nicole (Dr Nicole Hill)
ID Code:72127
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2011-08-22
Last Modified:2012-03-09
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