Browsing by Author "Vaalgamaa, Sanna"

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  • Vaalgamaa, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Historical sediment nutrient concentrations and heavy-metal distributions were studied in five embayments in the Gulf of Finland and an adjacent lake. The main objective of the study was to examine the response of these water bodies to temporal changes in human activities. Sediment cores were collected from the sites and dated using 210Pb and 137Cs. The cores were analyzed for total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), organic phosphorus (OP), inorganic phosphorus (IP), biogenic silica (BSi), loss on ignition (LOI), grain size, Cu, Zn, Al, Fe, Mn, K, Ca, Mg and Na. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to summarize the trends in the geochemical variables and to compare trends between the different sites. The links between the catchment land use and sediment geochemical data were studied using a multivariate technique of redundancy analysis (RDA). Human activities produce marked geochemical variations in coastal sediments. These variations and signals are often challenging to interpret due to various sedimentological and post-depositional factors affecting the sediment profiles. In general, the sites studied here show significant upcore increases in sedimentation rates, TP and TN concentrations. Also Cu, which is considered to be a good indicator of anthropogenic influence, showed clear increases from 1850 towards the top part of the cores. Based on the RDA-analysis, in the least disturbed embayments with high forest cover, the sediments are dominated by lithogenic indicators Fe, K, Al and Mg. In embayments close to urban settlement, the sediments have high Cu concentrations and a high sediment Fe/Mn ratio. This study suggests that sediment accumulation rates vary significantly from site to site and that the overall sedimentation can be linked to the geomorphology and basin bathymetry, which appear to be the major factors governing sedimentation rates; i.e. a high sediment accumulation rate is not characteristic either to urban or to rural sites. The geochemical trends are strongly site specific and depend on the local geochemical background, basin characteristics and anthropogenic metal and nutrient loading. Of the studied geochemical indicators, OP shows the least monotonic trends in all studied sites. When compared to other available data, OP seems to be the most reliable geochemical indicator describing the trophic development of the study sites, whereas Cu and Zn appear to be good indicators for anthropogenic influence. As sedimentation environments, estuarine and marine sites are more complex than lacustrine basins with multiple sources of sediment input and more energetic conditions in the former. The crucial differences between lacustrine and estuarine/coastal sedimentation environments are mostly related to Fe. P sedimentation is largely governed by Fe redox-reactions in estuarine environments. In freshwaters, presence of Fe is clearly linked to the sedimentation of other lithogenic metals, and therefore P sedimentation and preservation has a more direct linkage to organic matter sedimentation.