Trace element composition in plant biomass could be used as an indicator of environmental stress, management practices and restoration success. A longitudinal study was conducted to compare Pb, Cd, and Cu content in seagrass Syringodium filiforme collected at a former bombing range in Puerto Rico with those of a Biosphere Reserve under similar geoclimatic conditions. Trace elements were measured by atomic absorption after dry-ashing of samples and extraction with acid. In general, levels of Pb, Cd, and Cu varied during 2001, 2003, 2005–2006, and 2013–2016. Results showed that bioaccumulated concentration of these trace elements were consistently higher, but not significant, at the bombing range site. As expected in polluted areas, greater variability in Pb and Cd content were observed in the military impacted site with levels up to 14 and 17 times higher than seagrass from the reference site, respectively. Although a decrease in Pb was observed after cessation of all military activities in 2003, the concentration in plant biomass was still above levels of ecological concern, indicating that natural attenuation is insufficient for cleanup of the site.
Díaz, E., Pérez, D., Delgado Acevedo, J., & Massol-Deyá, A. (2018). Longitudinal survey of lead, cadmium, and copper in seagrass Syringodium filiforme from a former bombing range (Vieques, Puerto Rico). Toxicology Reports, 5, 6–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2017.11.007