Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1313-1320

First online:

Sediment Quality Assessment in the Gulf of Gdańsk (Baltic Sea) Using Complementary Lines of Evidence

  • Roberta BettinettiAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, University of Insubria Email author 
  • , Silvana GalassiAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Milan
  • , Jerzy FalandyszAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Chemistry, University of Gdańsk
  • , Marina CamussoAffiliated withWater Research Institute, CNR
  • , Davide A. L. VignatiAffiliated withWater Research Institute, CNRInstitut F.-A. Forel

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Sediments from Polish coastal environments were classified by a quality assessment approach that took into account trace metal and organic micropollutant concentrations, grain-size distribution, and organic carbon content. Generally, no benthic organisms were found at sites where sediments were classified as heavily polluted. However, areas characterized by a moderate contamination showed a variable composition of the benthic community and changing bioaccumulation patterns; therefore, no single species found in the Gulf of Gdańsk could be considered representative of the whole benthic environment. Although sediment monitoring must be considered a suitable tool to detect hot-spot pollution areas in coastal and inland waters, it should be complemented by bioaccumulation measurements to evaluate the actual risk posed by contaminants to benthic organisms. This “biological information” allows a better appreciation of the real benthic infaunal community exposure to chemicals and can usefully complement the existing sediment quality guidelines.


Benthic organisms Bioaccumulation Marine coastal environments Probable effects level Probable effect level quotient Risk assessment Sediment Quality Guidelines