Interactions between metals and microbial communities in New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts.
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CitationFord, T., J. Sorci, R. Ika, and J. Shine. 1998. Interactions between metals and microbial communities in New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts. Environmental Health Perspectives 106(Suppl 4): 1033-1039.
AbstractThe fate of toxic metals in marine sediments depends on a combination of the physical, chemical, and biologic conditions encountered in any given environment. These conditions may vary dramatically, both spatially and temporally, in response to factors ranging from seasonal changes and storm events to human activities such as dredging or remediation efforts. This paper describes a program designed to evaluate the interrelationships between the microbial community and pollutants in the New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts, area, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated Superfund site. Research has focused on establishing distributional relationships between contaminant metals, fluxes of metals between sediments and the overlying water, changes in microbial diversity in response to metals, and potential use of the microbial community as a biomarker of contaminant availability. This research has shown that a significant flux of metals to the water column is mediated by benthic biologic activity, and that microbial communities may be a responsive marker of contaminant stress. A combination of biogeochemical studies and the use of molecular tools can be used to improve our understanding of the fate and effect of heavy metals released to aquatic systems.
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