Intertidal mud flats
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Two “Bremerhaven caissons” were used to investigate the interactions of cadmium (Cd) with sea water, particulate matter, sediments, suspended particular matter (SPM), and organisms in enclosed sea water-sediment systems, on the tidal mud flats of Jade Bay (FRG). One caisson was artificially contaminated by continuously injecting cadmium (as a chloride) so as to maintain a Cd concentration of 100 μg/l in the inflowing water of each tidal cycle for 22 days. The other caisson was used as a control system. About 30% of the total Cd introduced into the caisson was transferred from the aqueous phase to the other phases during each tidal cycle. Cadmium appears to accumulate in elements of the system in the order SPM, organisms, sediments, water. SPM, initially low in Cd entering the system, rapidly accumulated Cd from solution after the first tidal cycle and the concentration continued to increase during the experiment. Particulate Cd transferred to the sediments results in the development of a Cd-rich layer that attained a depth of 4 cm over the course of the experiment. Among the biota, the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) progressively accumulated the highest concentrations of Cd whereas other taxa, like polychaetes, accumulated less of the metal. Differnces in Cd accumulation appear to be due to the habitats of the different species and their ability to assimilate Cd from the dissolved and particulate phases. Together, the data indicate that in the contamination of tidal mud flats with aqueous cadmium most of the metal would remain available to the organisms in the aqueous phases and weakly bound to particulate matter. This would present the greatest environmental danger to filter feeders but not to animals living in the sediments.
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