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Sediment toxicity in the Kattegat and Skagerrak


Sediments were sampled from 62 sites in the Kattegat and Skagerrak, which are located between the Baltic and the North Sea in the Western Atlantic, during autumn 1989 and spring 1990. From each site 5 to 6 samples were taken wit ha box-corer. After mixing to composite samples on board, transport and storage (at 4 °C for 2 to 4 weeks), the samples were tested for toxicity to Daphnia magna and Nitocra spinipes. Immobility in Daphnia after exposure to 16 percent sediment (wet wt) in reconstituted standardized water (ISO, 1982) ranged from 0 to 88 percent after 24 h and from 3 to 95 percent after 48 h. For Nitocra the toxicity, determined as the 96-h LC50 (% wet wt) at 7‰ salinity, ranged from > > 32 percent (nontoxic) to 1.8 percent (most toxic). All exposures were made in duplicates and the effects obtained in the duplicates with the same sediment were correlated to each other. However, sediment toxicity to Daphnia and Nitocra was not. The test with Nitocra, which was made at several concentrations of sediment, was considered to give the most reliable picture of sediment toxicity in the Kattegat and Skagerrak. This ambient toxicity assessment identified three areas with toxic sediment, (1) the Göta älv estuary (outside the city of Göteborg) and its surroundings, (2) the Bay of Laholm in southern Kattegat, which is an area with periodic oxygen depletion and where repeated mussel kills have occurred during the last decade, and (3) an area in the open Skagerrak northwest of Skagen (the tip of the Jutland peninsula). Sediments, which had been stored at 4 °C, were tested again after 6 to 13 mos with the Nitocra test. Stored sediment toxicity was poorly correlated with fresh sediment toxicity. The average detoxification during storage was 5 times, but the range was 3 orders of magnitude, from 17 times more toxic to 73 times less toxic. The reasons for the observed areal and storage differences in sediment toxicity are so far not understood.

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Dave, G., Nilsson, E. Sediment toxicity in the Kattegat and Skagerrak. J Aquat Ecosyst Stress Recov 3, 193–206 (1994).

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Key words

  • Kattegat
  • Skagerrak
  • sediment toxicity
  • sediment
  • storage
  • Daphnia magna
  • Nitocra spinipes