Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface sediments from the Curonian Lagoon and the Nemunas River Delta (Lithuania, Baltic Sea): distribution, origin, and suggestions for the monitoring program

  • Rimutė Stakėnienė
  • Kęstutis Jokšas
  • Arūnas Galkus
  • Eva Raudonytė-SvirbutavičienėEmail author


Curonian Lagoon is the largest lagoon in the Baltic Sea region suffering from a great anthropogenic pressure. Pollution sources within the Nemunas River basin and those within the Klaipėda Port are the main threats to this sensitive water area. For the first time, such a detailed study on 16 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon distribution, origin, and ecological risks was carried out in the Curonian Lagoon and the Nemunas River Delta. Total PAH concentration ranged from 5.6 to 528.4 ng g−1 d.w., demonstrating low to moderate pollution. The main identified PAH sources were vehicular and biomass emission, petroleum product spills, and coal combustion. A particularly high naphthalene concentration posing adverse biological effects was detected in the Nemunas River Delta region. Occasional adverse biological effects related to acenaphthene and dibenzo(a)anthracene might be observed in several Curonian Lagoon locations. The data obtained could serve for the improvement of the current regional environmental monitoring program: it reveals the need to take into account different sedimentary environments while choosing sampling locations. In addition to that, more PAHs could be included to the hazardous substance list.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Sediments Curonian Lagoon Nemunas River Delta Transitional water PAH sources 



This research was supported by the Open Access to research infrastructure of the Nature Research Center under Lithuanian open access network initiative.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geology and Geography, SRI Nature Research CentreVilniusLithuania
  2. 2.Faculty of Chemistry and GeosciencesVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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