Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1313–1320 | Cite as

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

  • Roberta Bettinetti
  • Silvana Galassi
  • Jerzy Falandysz
  • Marina Camusso
  • Davide A. L. Vignati


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 


  1. Ahlf W, Hollert H, Neumann-Hensel H, Ricking M (2002) A guidance for the assessment and evaluation of sediment quality: a German approach based on ecotoxicological and chemical measurements. Journal of Soil Sedimentation 2:37–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albalat A, Potrykus J, Pempkowiak J, Porte C (2002) Assessment of organotin pollution along the Polish coast (Baltic Sea) by using mussels and fish as sentinel organisms. Chemosphere 47(2):165–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batley GE, Burton GA, Chapman PM, Forbes VE (2002) Uncertainties in sediment quality weight-of-evidence (WOE) assessment. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 8:1517–1547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brils J (2008) Sediment monitoring and the European Water Framework Directive. Annali dell'Istituto superiore di sanità 44:218–223Google Scholar
  5. Burton GA (2002) Sediment quality criteria in use around the world. Limnology 3:65–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chan BKK, Caley KJ (2003) Sandy shores—Hong Kong Field Guides 4. Department of Ecology & Biodiversity, Wan Li Book Co, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapman PM, Power EA, Dexter RN, Andersen HB (1991) Evaluation of effects associated with an oil platform, using the sediment quality triad. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 10:407–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapman PM, Paine MD, Arthur AD, Taylor LA (1996) A triad study of sediment quality associated with a major, relatively untreated marine sewage discharge. Marine Pollution Bulletin 32:47–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis JC (1986) Statistics and data analysis in geology, 2nd edn. John Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Diaz RJ, Rosenberg R (1995) Marine benthic hypoxia: a review of its ecological effects and behavioural responses of marine macrofauna. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 33:245–303Google Scholar
  11. Environment Agency (2002) Sediments in England and Wales: nature and extent of the issues. Environment Agency, BristolGoogle Scholar
  12. Fairey R, Long ER, Roberts CA, Anderson BS, Phillips BM, Hunt JW, Puckett HR, Wilson CJ (2001) An evaluation of methods for calculating mean sediment quality guideline quotients as indicators of contamination and acute toxicity to amphipod by chemical mixtures. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20:2276–2286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falandysz J, Albanis T, Bachmann J, Bettinetti R, Bochentin I, Boti V, Bristeau S, Daehne B, Dagnac T, Galassi S, Jeannot R, Oehlmann J, Orlikowska A, Sakkas V, Szczerski R, Valsamaki V, Schulte-Oehlmann U (2006) Some chemical contaminant of surface sediments at the Baltic Sea coastal region with special emphasis on androgenic and anti-androgenic compounds. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A 41(10):2127–2162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Galassi S, Bettinetti R, Neri MC, Jeannot R, Dagnac T, Bristeau S, Sakkas V, Albanis T, Boti V, Valsamaki T, Falandysz J, Schulte-Oehlmann U (2008) A multispecies approach for monitoring persistent toxic substances in the Gulf of Gdańsk (Baltic Sea). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 69:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heather A, Morrison FAPC, Gobas C, Lazar R, Haffner GD (1996) Development and verification of a bioaccumulation model for organic contaminants in benthic invertebrates. Environmental Science and Technology 30:3377–3384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. HELCOM (2003) The Baltic marine environment 1999–2002. Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings no. 87. Helsinki Commission, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  17. Hyland JL, Van Dolah RF, Snoots TR (1999) Predicting stress in benthic communities of southeastern U.S. estuaries in relation to chemical contamination in sediments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 18:2557–2564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hyland JL, Baltis WL, Engle VD, Long ER, Paul JF, Summers JK, Van Dolah RF (2003) Incidence of stress in benthic communities along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts within different ranges of sediment contamination from chemical mixtures. Environmental Monitoring Assessment 81:149–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kot-Wasik A, Zukowska B, Dabrowska D, Debska J, Pacyna J, Namiesnik J (2003) Physical, chemical and biological changes in the Gulf of Gdańsk ecosystem (Southern Baltic Sea). Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 179:1–36Google Scholar
  20. Kowalczuk P, Stoń-Egiert J, Cooper WJ, Whitehead RF, Durako MJ (2005) Characterization of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the Baltic Sea by excitation emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy. Marine Chemistry 96:273–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Long ER, Chapman PM (1985) A sediment quality triad: measures of sediment contamination, toxicity and infaunal community composition in Puget Sound. Marine Pollution Bulletin 16:405–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Long ER, MacDonald DD, Smith SL et al (1995) Incidence of adverse biological effects within ranges of chemical concentrations in marine and estuarine sediments. Environmental Management 19(1):81–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Long ER, Field LJ, MacDonald DD (1998) Predicting toxicity in marine sediments with numerical sediment quality guidelines. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17(4):714–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Long ER, Ingersoll CG, MacDonald DD (2006) Calculation and uses of mean sediment quality guideline quotients: a critical review. Environmental Science and Technology 40:1726–1736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. MacDonald DD, Carr RS, Calder FD et al (1996) Development and evaluation of sediment quality guidelines for Florida coastal waters. Ecotoxicology 5(4):253–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. MacDonald DD, Carr RS, Eckenrod D, Greening H, Grabe S, Ingersoll CG, Janicki S, Janicki T, Lindskoog RA, Long ER, Pribble R, Sloana G, Smorong DE (2004) Development, evaluation, and application of sediment quality targets for assessing and managing contaminated sediments in Tampa Bay, Florida. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 46:147–161Google Scholar
  27. McCauley DJ, DeGraeve GM, Linton TK (2000) Sediment quality guidelines and assessment: overview and research needs. Environmental Science & Policy 3:S133–S144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McGee BL, Fisher DJ, Yonkos LT, Ziegler GP, Turley S (1999) Assessment of sediment contamination, acute toxicity, and population viability of the estuarine amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus in Baltimore harbor, Maryland, USA. Environmantal Toxicology and Chemistry 18:2151–2160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Micheletti C, Critto A, Carlon C, Marcomini A (2004) Ecological risk assessment of persistent toxic substances for the clam Tapes philippinarum in the lagoon of Venice, Italy. Environmantal Toxicology and Chemistry 23(6):1575–1582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NOAA (1990) National Status & Trend Program. North Sea Environment Report No. 3. NSTF Monitoring Master Plan, NOAA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Pavoni B, Marcomini A, Sfriso A, Orio AA (1988) Multivariate analysis of heavy metal concentrations in sediments of the lagoon of Venice. Science of the Total Environment 77:189–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Potrykus J, Albalat A, Pempkowiak J, Porte C (2003) Content and pattern of organic pollutants (PAHs, PCBs and DDT) in blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) from the southern Baltic Sea. Oceanologia 45(1):337–3555Google Scholar
  33. Rosenberg R, Nilsson HC, Diaz RJ (2001) Response of benthic fauna and changing sediment redox profiles over a hypoxic gradient. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53:343–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shea D (1988) Developing national sediment quality criteria. Environmental Science and Technology 22(11):1256–1261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Szpunar J, Falandysz J, Schmitt O, Obrebska E (1997) Butyltin in marine and freshwater sediments in Poland. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 58:859–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thompson B, Lowe S (2004) Assessment of macrobenthos response to sediment contamination in the San Francisco Estuary, California, USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 23(9):2178–2187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Volpi Ghirardini A, Birkemeyer T, Arizzi Novelli A, Delaney E, Pavoni B, Ghetti PF (1999) An integrated approach to sediment quality assessment: the Venetian lagoon as a case study. Aquatic Ecosystem Health Management 2:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wenning RJ, Adams WJ, Batley GE, Berry WJ, Birge WJ, Bridges TS, Burton GA, Chapman PM, Douglas WS, Engler RM, Ingersoll CG, Moore DW, Stahl RG, Word JQ (2005) Executive summary. In: Wenning RJ, Batley GE, Ingersoll CG, Moore DW (eds) Use of sediment quality guidelines and related tools for the assessment of contaminated sediments. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), Pensacola, FL, pp 11–38Google Scholar
  39. Zaret TM (1982) The stability-diversity controversy:a test of hypotheses. Ecology 116:394–408Google Scholar
  40. Zettler ML, Schiedek D, Bobertz B (2007) Benthic biodiversity indices versus salinity gradient in the southern Baltic Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin 55:258–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Bettinetti
    • 1
  • Silvana Galassi
    • 2
  • Jerzy Falandysz
    • 3
  • Marina Camusso
    • 4
  • Davide A. L. Vignati
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Environmental SciencesUniversity of InsubriaComoItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MilanMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Environmental ChemistryUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland
  4. 4.Water Research Institute, CNRBrugherio, MilanoItaly
  5. 5.Institut F.-A. ForelVersoixSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations