Distribution and assessment of mercury (Hg) in surface sediments of Futian mangrove forest, China

  • Zhiyuan Niu
  • Ye Cao
  • Wenli Zhao
  • Ruili Li
Original Paper


To investigate the distribution of mercury (Hg) in Futian mangrove wetland, surface sediments from land to sea were collected, including Kandelia obovata, Avicennia marina, Sonneratia caseolaris, and mud flat. The ecological risks of Hg in sediments were also assessed. The results showed that mangrove forests acidified sediments and promoted the accumulation of salinity and organic matter in sediments. Hg concentrations in both mangrove forests (154.7–218.4 ng g−1) and mud flat sediments (226.3–251.9 ng g−1) surpassed the background level (71.0 ng g−1). Furthermore, Hg concentrations in sediments decreased gradually from sea to land at all depth. From the bottom to the top layer sediment, Hg concentration decreased gradually in the sediments near land, while it kept vertically stable in the coastal area, indicating its pollution may mainly come from the coastal area rather than the land to some extent. Although the mean values of geo-accumulation indexes revealed uncontaminated to moderately contaminated levels, the mean values of potential ecological risk coefficients revealed considerable ecological risk of Hg to the environment, deserving further attention.


Mercury Distribution Futian mangrove sediment Ecological risk assessment 



This work was financially supported by the Program of Science and Technology of Shenzhen (JCYJ20160330095549229, KQJSCX20160226110414), and the Program of Assessment and Restoration of Mangrove Geiwei of Shenzhen Bay.


  1. Arrivabene, H. P., Campos, C. Q., Souza, I. D. C., Wunderlin, D. A., Milanez, C. R. D., & Machado, S. R. (2016). Differential bioaccumulation and translocation patterns in three mangrove plants experimentally exposed to iron. Consequences for environmental sensing. Environmental Pollution, 215, 302–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayen, S. (2012). Occurrence, bioavailability and toxic effects of trace metals and organic contaminants in mangrove ecosystems: A review. Environment International, 48, 84–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bravo, A. G., Bouchet, S., Amouroux, D., Poté, J., & Dominik, J. (2011). Distribution of mercury and organic matter in particle-size classes in sediments contaminated by a waste water treatment plant: Vidy Bay, Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 13(4), 974–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chai, M. W., Shen, X. X., Li, R. L., & Qiu, G. Y. (2015). The risk assessment of heavy metals in Futian mangrove forest sediment in Shenzhen Bay (South China) based on SEM–AVS analysis. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 97(1–2), 431–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chakraborty, P., Sarkar, A., Vudamala, K., Naik, R., & Nath, B. N. (2015). Organic matter—A key factor in controlling mercury distribution in estuarine sediment. Marine Chemistry, 173, 302–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chan, A. K. Y., Xu, W. Z., Liu, X. S., Cheung, S. G., & Shin, P. K. S. (2016). Sediment characteristics and benthic ecological status in contrasting marine environments of subtropical Hong Kong. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 103, 360–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Conrad, S. R., Santos, I. R., Brown, D. R., Sanders, L. M., van Santen, M. L., & Sanders, C. J. (2017). Mangrove sediments reveal records of development during the previous century (Coffs Creek estuary, Australia). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 122, 441–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cornelis, R., Caruso, J., Crews, H., & Heumann, K. (2005). Handbook of elemental speciation II: Species in the environment, food, medicine and occupational health. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dhivert, E., Grosbois, C., Courtin-Nomade, A., Bourrain, X., & Desmet, M. (2016). Dynamics of metallic contaminants at a basin scale-Spatial and temporal reconstruction from four sediments cores (Loire fluvial system, France). Science of the Total Environment, 541, 1504–1515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ding, Z. H., Liu, J. L., Li, L. Q., Lin, H. N., & Wu, H. (2010a). Distribution of Hg in mangrove plants and correlation with Hg speciation in sediments. Environmental Science, 31(9), 2234–2239. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  11. Ding, Z. H., Liu, J. L., Li, L. Q., Lin, H. N., Wu, H., & Hu, Z. Z. (2009). Distribution and speciation of mercury in surficial sediments from main mangrove wetlands in China. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58(9), 1319–1325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ding, Z. H., Wu, H., Liu, Y., Yuan, Y. T., & Zhang, L. (2010b). Preliminary study on the distribution and impact factors of methylmercury in surficial sediments from main mangrove wetlands of China. Environmental Science, 31(8), 1701–1707. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  13. Gordeeva, O. N., Belogolova, G. A., & Pastukhov, M. V. (2017). Mercury speciation and mobility in soils of industrial areas in the Baikal region, Southern Siberia. Russia. Environmental Earth Sciences, 76(16), 558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hakanson, L. (1980). An ecological risk index for aquatic pollution control-a sedimentological approach. Water Research, 14(80), 975–1001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Haris, H., Aris, A. Z., & Mokhtar, M. B. (2017). Mercury and methylmercury distribution in the intertidal surface sediment of a heavily anthropogenically impacted saltwater-mangrove-sediment interplay zone. Chemosphere, 166, 323–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. He, B., Li, R. L., Chai, M. W., Qiu, G. Y., & Shen, X. X. (2015). Distribution and speciation of mercury (Hg) in Futian Mangrove wetland Shenzhen Bay. Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 24(3), 469–475. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  17. Huang, X. P., Li, X. D., Yue, W. Z., Huang, L. M., & Li, Y. X. (2003). Accumulation of Heavy Metals in the Sediments of Shenzhen Bay, South China. Environmental Science, 24(4), 144–149. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  18. Ip, C. C., Li, X. D., Zhang, G., Wai, O. W., & Li, Y. S. (2005). Trace metal distribution in sediments of the Pearl River Estuary and the surrounding coastal area, South China. Environmental Pollution, 138(3), 494–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jardine, T. D., Kidd, K. A., & Driscoll, N. O. (2013). Food web analysis reveals effects of pH on mercury bioaccumulation at multiple trophic levels in streams. Aquatic Toxicology, 132–133, 46–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kehrig, H. A., Pinto, F. N., Moreira, I., & Malm, O. (2012). Heavy metals and methylmercury in a tropical coastal estuary and a mangrove in brazil. Organic Geochemistry, 34(5), 661–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kwokal, Z., Sarkar, S. K., & C-Bilinski, S. F. S. (2012). Mercury concentration in sediment cores from Sundarban mangrove wetland, India. Journal of Soil Contamination, 21(4), 525–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li, R. L., Chai, M. W., Guo, M., & Qiu, G. Y. (2016a). Sediment accumulation and mercury (Hg) flux in Avicennia marina forest of Deep Bay, China. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 177, 41–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li, R., Chai, M., & Qiu, G. Y. (2016b). Distribution, fraction, and ecological assessment of heavy metals in sediment-plant system in mangrove forest, South China Sea. PLoS One, 11(1), e147308.Google Scholar
  24. Li, R. L., Chai, M. W., Qiu, Q. Y., & He, B. (2012). Mercury and Copper accumulation during last fifty years and their potential ecological risk assessment in sediment of mangrove wetland of Shenzhen, China. Environmental Science, 33(12), 4276–4283. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  25. Li, R. Y., Li, R. L., Chai, M. W., Shen, X. X., Xu, H. L., & Qiu, G. Y. (2015). Heavy metal contamination and ecological risk in Futian mangrove forest sediment in Shenzhen Bay, South China. Marine Pollution Bulletion, 101(1), 448–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li, Q., Wu, Z., Chu, B., Zhang, N., & Cai, S. (2007). Heavy metals in coastal wetland sediments of the Pearl River Estuary, China. Environmental Pollution, 149(2), 158–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li, R. L., Xu, H., Chai, M. W., & Qiu, G. Y. (2016c). Distribution and accumulation of mercury and copper in mangrove sediments in Shenzhen, the world’s most rapid urbanized city. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 188(2), 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu, J. L., Li, L. Q., Lin, H. N., Wu, H., & Ding, Z. H. (2008). Characters of gain size of sediments from mangrove wetlands of China. Journal of Xiamen University (Natural Science), 47(6), 891–893. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  29. Liu, Y., Wei, J., Huang, X. F., Peng, Y. S., & Xu, J. R. (2014). Composition and contents of organic acids in root exudates of mangrove Aegiceras corniculatum and Kandelia candel. Chinese Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology, 20(5), 850–855. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  30. Liu, J. C., Yan, C. L., Kate, L. S., Zhang, R. F., & Lu, H. L. (2010). The distribution of acid-volatile sulfide and simultaneously extracted metals in sediments from a mangrove forest and adjacent mudflat in Zhangjiang Estuary, China. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60(8), 1209–1216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Luo, W., Wang, T., Jiao, W., Hu, W., Naile, J. E., Khim, J. S., et al. (2012). Mercury in coastal watersheds along the Chinese Northern Bohai and Yellow Seas. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 215–216, 199–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Machado, W., Moscatelli, M., Rezende, L. G., & Lacerda, L. D. (2002). Mercury, zinc, and copper accumulation in mangrove sediments surrounding a large landfill in southeast Brazil. Environmental Pollution, 120(2), 455–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Machado, W., Sanders, C. J., Santos, I. R., Sanders, L. M., Silva-Filho, E. V., & Luiz-Silva, W. (2016). Mercury dilution by autochthonous organic matter in a fertilized mangrove wetland. Environmental Pollution, 213, 30–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marchand, C., Fernandez, J. M., & Moreton, B. (2016). Trace metal geochemistry in mangrove sediments and their transfer to mangrove plants (New Caledonia). Science of the Total Environment, 562, 216–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Müller, G. (1969). Index of geoaccumulation in sediments of the Rhine River. GeoJournal, 2(108), 108–118.Google Scholar
  36. Parthasarathi, C., Arindam, S., Krushna, V., & Bejugam, N. N. (2015). Organic matter-A key factor in controlling mercury distribution in estuarine sediment. Marine Chemistry, 173, 302–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shi, J. B., Ip, C. C. M., Zhang, G., Jiang, G. B., & Li, X. D. (2010). Mercury profiles in sediments of the Pearl River Estuary and the surrounding coastal area of South China. Environmental Pollution, 158(5), 1974–1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tam, N. F., & Wong, Y. S. (2000). Spatial variation of heavy metals in surface sediments of Hong Kong mangrove swamps. Environmental Pollution, 110(2), 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tang, T. J., Han, L., Peng, Y., Chen, C. X., & Xie, L. S. (2016). Pollution and prevention countermeasure for water environment of Shenzhen Bay. Environmental Science and Management, 41(2), 43–45. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  40. Vane, C. H., Harrison, I., Kim, A. W., Moss-Hayes, V., Vickers, B. P., & Hong, K. (2009). Organic and metal contamination in surface mangrove sediments of south china. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58(1), 134–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walters, B. B., Rönnbäck, P., Kovacs, J. M., Crona, B., Hussain, S. A., Badola, R., et al. (2008). Ethnobiology, socio-economics and management of mangrove forests: A review. Aquatic Botany, 89(2), 220–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang, W. Q., & Lin, P. (2003). Element distribution in mangroves and salt tolerant mechanism. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 39(4), 30–36. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  43. Xie, H. W., Wen, B., Guo, Y., Shi, Y. Z., & Wu, Y. H. (2010). Community characteristics and distribution of metal elements in mangroves in Futian of Shenzhen, China. Guihaia, 30(1), 64–69. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  44. Ye, F., Huang, X., Zhang, D., Tian, L., & Zeng, Y. (2012). Distribution of heavy metals in sediments of the Pearl River Estuary, Southern China: Implications for sources and historical changes. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 24(4), 579–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zahir, F., Rizwi, S. J., Haq, S. K., & Khan, R. H. (2005). Low dose mercury toxicity and human health. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 20, 351–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zan, Q. J., Wang, Y. J., & Wang, B. S. (2002). Accumulation and cycle of heavy metal in Sonneratia apetala and S. caseolaris mangrove community at Futian of Shenzhen, China. Environmental Science, 23(4), 81–88. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  47. Zhang, J. H., Li, W., & Pan, N. M. (2000). Absorption, accumulation and cycle of several heavy metals by mangrove. Yunnan Environmental Science, 19(S), 53–56. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  48. Zhang, J., Li, H., Zhou, Y., Li, H., & You, J. (2018). Bioavailability and soil-to-crop transfer of heavy metals in farmland soils: A case study in the Pearl River Delta, South China. Environmental Pollution, 235, 710–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhao, G., Ye, S., Yuan, H., Ding, X., & Wang, J. (2017). Surface sediment properties and heavy metal pollution assessment in the Pearl River Estuary, China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(3), 2966–2979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhou, Y., Zhao, B., Peng, Y., & Chen, G. (2010). Influence of mangrove reforestation on heavy metal accumulation and speciation in intertidal sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60(8), 1319–1324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zuo, P., Wang, Y. P., Cheng, J., & Min, F. Y. (2008). Distribution characteristics of heavy metals in surface sediments and core sediments of the Shenzhen Bay in Guangdong Province, China. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 30(4), 71–79. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment and EnergyPeking University Shenzhen Graduate SchoolShenzhenChina

Personalised recommendations