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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 7130–7139 | Cite as

Long-term copper partitioning of metal-spiked sediments used in outdoor mesocosms

  • Stephanie Gardham
  • Grant C. Hose
  • Stuart L. Simpson
  • Chad Jarolimek
  • Anthony A. Chariton
Research Article

Abstract

Understanding the effects of sediment contaminants is pivotal to reducing their impact in aquatic environments. Outdoor mesocosms enable us to decipher the effects of these contaminants in environmentally realistic scenarios, providing a valuable link between laboratory and field experiments. However, because of their scale, mesocosm experiments are often complex to set up and manage. The creation of environmentally realistic conditions, particularly when using artificially contaminated sediment, is one issue. Here, we describe changes in geochemistry over 1.5 years of a sediment spiked with four different concentrations of copper, within a large freshwater mesocosm facility. The spiking procedure included proportional amendments with garden lime to counteract the decreases in pH caused by the copper additions. The majority of copper within the spiked mesocosm sediments partitioned to the particulate phase with low microgram per liter concentrations measured in the pore waters and overlying waters. The minimum partition coefficient following equilibration between pore waters and sediments was 1.5 × 104 L/kg, which is well within the range observed for field-contaminated sediments (1 × 104 to 1 × 106 L/kg). Recommendations are made for the in situ spiking of sediments with metals in large outdoor mesocosms. These include selecting an appropriate sediment type, adjusting the pH, allowing sufficient equilibration time, and regular mixing and monitoring of metal partitioning throughout the experimental period.

Keywords

Toxicity test Copper Risk assessment Sediment quality Manipulation 

Abbreviations

C

Control

VL

Very low

L

Low

H

High

VH

Very high

OW

Overlying water

PW

Pore water

ISQG

Interim sediment quality guideline

OR

Online resource

Notes

Acknowledgments

The PhD research was carried out with an iMQRES scholarship from Macquarie University and support from CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. The authors thank Alexander Michie and Lois Oulton for their help in setting up the mesocosm infrastructure and Joshua King and Steven Leahy for their help in ICP-AES analysis. Many thanks also to Graeme Batley for his advice and edits of the manuscript. Mesocosm construction was funded by a Macquarie University Research Infrastructure grant to Grant Hose.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_2631_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (816 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 815 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Gardham
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grant C. Hose
    • 1
  • Stuart L. Simpson
    • 2
  • Chad Jarolimek
    • 2
  • Anthony A. Chariton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environment and GeographyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Contaminants ResearchCSIRO Land and WaterLucas HeightsAustralia

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