, Volume 293, Issue 2, pp 679-688,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Mar 2012

Distribution of 137Cs in benthic plants along depth profiles in the outer Puck Bay (Baltic Sea)

Abstract

A study was conducted on three macroalgae species: Polysiphonia fucoides and Furcellaria lumbricalis, the species of the red algae division, and Cladophora glomerata, representing the green algae division, as well as Zostera marina, representing vascular plants. The main aim of the study was to recognize the level of 137Cs concentrations in the plants, which could be used as a measurement of bioaccumulation efficiency in the selected macrophytes at varying depths, and in the seasonal resolution of the vegetation period: spring–summer and autumnal. The plants’ biomass clearly showed seasonal variability, as did the 137Cs concentrations in the plants. Cesium activity also changed with depth. Seasonal variability in radionuclide content in the plants, as well as the differences in its activity determined along the depth profile, were related mainly to the plant biomass and the dilution effect caused by the biomass increment and reflected the growth dynamics. P. fucoides showed much greater bioaccumulation ability at each depth as compared to C. glomerata, a green algae. Lower concentrations of 137Cs were also identified in F. lumbricalis and in Z. marina, mostly as a result of differences in morphology and physiology. P. fucoides can be recommended as a bioindicator for the monitoring of 137Cs contamination due to the high efficiency of bioaccumulation and the available biomass along the depth profile, as well as the occurrence throughout the entire vegetation season.