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Durham University

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Vane, C.H., Kim, A.W., Moss-Hayes, V., Turner, G., Mills, K., Chenery, S.R., Barlow, T.S., Kemp, A.C., Engelhart, S.E., Hill, T.D., Horton, B.P & Brain, M.J. (2020). Organic Pollutants, Heavy Metals and Toxicity in Oil Spill impacted Salt Marsh Sediment Cores, Staten Island, New York City, USA. Marine Pollution Bulletin 151: 110721.

Author(s) from Durham


Sediment cores from Staten Island's salt marsh contain multiple historical oil spill events that impact ecological health. Microtox solid phase bioassay indicated moderate to high toxicity. Multiple spikes of TPH (6524 to 9586 mg/kg) and Σ16 PAH (15.5 to 18.9 mg/kg) were co-incident with known oil spills. A high TPH background of 400–700 mg/kg was attributed to diffuse sources. Depth-profiled metals Cu (1243 mg/kg), Zn (1814 mg/kg), Pb (1140 mg/kg), Ni (109 mg/kg), Hg (7 mg/kg), Cd 15 (mg/kg) exceeded sediment quality guidelines confirming adverse biological effects. Changes in Pb206/207 suggested three metal contaminant sources and diatom assemblages responded to two contamination events. Organic and metal contamination in Saw Mill Creek Marsh may harm sensitive biota, we recommend caution in the management of the 20–50 cm sediment interval because disturbance could lead to remobilisation of pre-existing legacy contamination into the waterway.