A revised classification system describing the ecological quality status of organically enriched marine sediments based on total dissolved sulfides

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Abstract

A field study is presented that provides an alternative method and system for classifying the ecological quality status (EQS) of organically enriched marine sediments based on total free sulfide concentrations (S2−). Sediments collected adjacent to coastal aquaculture activities across a broad biogeographic range were analysed using three S2− methods. S2− is a product of organic matter mineralization and is a major cause of benthic community impacts from excess organic enrichment. The results confirm that the ion-selective electrode protocol that is widely used in monitoring programs to classify benthic impacts provides unreliable data and site classifications. An EQS classification system is presented that employs S2− data measured rapidly and simply in the field by direct ultraviolet spectrophotometry. Interrelations between S2− concentrations and several benthic macrofauna community health metrics were employed to develop the EQS system. These relationships were consistent regardless of organic matter source, geographic region or sediment grain size.

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Cranford, P., Brager, L., Elvines, D., Wong, D., & Law, B. (2020). A revised classification system describing the ecological quality status of organically enriched marine sediments based on total dissolved sulfides. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111088

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