Selenium and trace metal accumulation in detrital-benthic food webs of lotic and lentic wetlands, Utah, USA Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/z603r1764

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  • Concentrations of selenium (Se), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) were measured in the water column, sediment and biota, in conjunction with selected physicochemical data, from representative wetland types at a mining site within Salt Lake County, Utah, USA. The selected field sites included Oolitic Pond (lentic) and Lee Creek (lotic), which are moderately contaminated brackish, alkaline aquatic wetlands managed by a copper mining industry. These fishless wetlands are located in a geographic region that poses risk to migratory shorebird populations from dietary Se. A spatial sampling study demonstrated the extent of variation in total Se concentration within the wetlands. With the exception of the sediment compartment, Se concentration did not differ significantly along the 2-mile length of Lee Creek or within the Pond. The differences in sediment total Se concentrations between the Creek East and West segments characterize lower Lee Creek as having two segments distinguished by unique processes that influence the sediment Se accumulation profiles. Se accumulation trends were observed temporally over 3-years (2000 to 2002) and over two seasons (spring and autumn). Total Se body burden in benthic invertebrates was more clearly associated with sediment/detritus Se concentrations than with surface water concentrations. Three invertebrate groups dominated the aquatic invertebrates assemblage in the lotic and lentic benthos; primary consumers (Chironomidae, Diptera), generalist feeders (Hemiptera) and predators (Odonata). The chironomid larvae accumulated 1.3 to 39 times the trace metal concentrations of the Hemiptera or odonate taxa, independent of trace metal type (essential or non-essential) or wetland occupation. Organism-specific factors, such as habitat selection and preferential feeding habits, were proposed to influence benthic invertebrate accumulation profiles by modifying trace metal exposure. Mixed diets, trophic omnivory and the complexity of wetland biogeochemistry limit the power of stable nitrogen fractionation signatures to define benthic food web relationships. Wetland site-specific processes impacted Se accumulating efficiency, with trace metal concentrations from 4 to 7 times greater within the lentic benthic system than the lotic. The fractionation of the natural abundant stable carbon isotopes revealed the importance of sedimentary and detrital organic carbon as dietary sources for the benthic food web. Sediment organic content was not significantly associated with sediment, or invertebrate, Se accumulation profiles. Ecological risk assessments based on sound understanding of metal chemistry and the interactions between the sediment matrix and benthic organisms are necessary to provide tools for environmental management.
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