Developments in Hydrobiology

Trace Metals in the Westerschelde Estuary: A Case-Study of a Polluted, Partially Anoxic Estuary

Editors: Baeyens, W. (Ed.)

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About this book

Oceans and lakes are characterized by large residence times and can thus be considered as being in an equilibrium or quasi-equilibrium state. In contrast, estuaries, which constitute the interface between the fresh water and marine ecosystems, are biogeochemically and physically very dynamic. Strong gradients in physical and chemical variables such as temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, amount and composition of particulates result from the mixing of fresh water and saline end members. These gradients provoke increased biogeochemical processes, generally resulting in a geochemical filter (the area of high turbidity, showing enhanced adsorption-desorption processes) and a biological filter (the area of high plankton activity showing, besides a high uptake of nutrients, a high accumulation of trace metals). Both filters disturb the conservative mixing pattern of the trace metals in an estuary.
In addition, four aspects make the Scheldt estuary very unusual and different from other estuaries:

  • the Scheldt is a tide-governed estuary which means larger residence times;
  • the upper estuary receives large inputs of biodegradable organic matter which leads to oxygen depletion in winter and to anoxic conditions in summer;
  • inputs of toxic pollutants occur in the upper estuary by the industrial park of Antwerp;
  • the anoxic zone, the zone of pollutant input and the zone of the turbidity maximum coincide geographically.

The Scheldt estuary is thus an ideal field laboratory for the study of biogeochemical processes which do not occur elsewhere, or only partially, to a very low extent or in a specific compartment, i.e. the sediments. More specifically, redox processes involving trace metals, the formation of non-labile metal complexes, and the methylation of mercury occur as a result of anoxic conditions and the high load of organic matter. Several models describing in detail the transport, the sedimentation and the speciation of the trace metals in this well-mixed estuary (all major estuaries in EC countries adjacent to the North Sea or the Atlantic Ocean are well-mixed) are presented in this book. A comparison of the metal concentrations over a 15-year period shows a net reduction of the pollution level.

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • General description of the Scheldt estuary

    Baeyens, Willy (et al.)

    Pages 1-14

  • Biogeochemical behaviour of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in the Scheldt estuary during the period 1981–1983

    Baeyens, Willy (et al.)

    Pages 15-44

  • The biogeochemical behaviour of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in the Scheldt estuary: results of the 1995 surveys

    Baeyens, Willy (et al.)

    Pages 45-62

  • Behaviour and speciation of mercury in the Scheldt estuary (water, sediments and benthic organisms)

    Baeyens, Willy (et al.)

    Pages 63-79

  • Effect of organic complexation on the behaviour of dissolved Cd, Cu and Zn in the Scheldt estuary

    Baeyens, Willy (et al.)

    Pages 81-90

Buy this book

eBook $149.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-017-3573-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $199.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-7923-5158-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $199.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-90-481-5062-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Trace Metals in the Westerschelde Estuary: A Case-Study of a Polluted, Partially Anoxic Estuary
Editors
  • W. Baeyens
Series Title
Developments in Hydrobiology
Series Volume
128
Copyright
1998
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
eBook ISBN
978-94-017-3573-5
DOI
10.1007/978-94-017-3573-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-7923-5158-0
Softcover ISBN
978-90-481-5062-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 167
Number of Illustrations and Tables
90 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour
Topics