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.
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