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Beyond the bed: Effects of metal contamination on recruitment to bedded sediments and overlying substrata


Hill, N and Simpson, SL and Johnston, EL, Beyond the bed: Effects of metal contamination on recruitment to bedded sediments and overlying substrata, Environmental Pollution, 173 pp. 182-191. ISSN 0269-7491 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Crown Copyright 2012

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2012.09.029


Metal-contaminated sediments pose a recognised threat to sediment-dwelling fauna. Re-mobilisation of contaminated sediments however, may impact more broadly on benthic ecosystems, including on diverse assemblages living on hard substrata patches immediately above sediments. We used manipulative field experiments to simultaneously test for the effects of metal contamination on recruitment to marine sediments and overlying hard substrata. Recruitment to sediments was strongly and negatively affected by metal contamination. However, while assemblage-level effects on hard-substratum fauna and flora were observed, most functional groups were unaffected or slightly enhanced by exposure to contaminated sediments. Diversity of hard-substratum fauna was also enhanced by metal contamination at one site. Metal-contaminated sediments appear to pose less of a hazard to hard-substratum than sediment-dwelling assemblages, perhaps due to a lower direct contaminant exposure or to indirect effects mediated by contaminant impacts on sediment fauna. Our results indicate that current sediment quality guidelines are protective of hard-substrata organisms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Metals, sediment fauna, sessile, interactions, spiked, copper, lead, zinc
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Hill, N (Dr Nicole Hill)
ID Code:81359
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:67
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2012-12-03
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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