Special Issue "Contaminants in Coastal Environments: From the Sediment-Water Interface to the Trophic Chain"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 December 2021) | Viewed by 4109

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessandro Acquavita
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Regional Agency for the Protection of the Environment of Friuli Venezia Giulia (ARPA FVG), 33057 Palmanova, UD, Italy
Interests: environmental pollution of coastal areas; marine biogeochemistry; mercury; nutrients and trophic state; risk assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Stefano Covelli
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics and Geosciences, University of Trieste, Via Weiss 2, 34128 Trieste Italy
Interests: biogeochemistry of trace elements in aquatic environments; biogeochemical cycling of mercury; contaminants in coastal environments
Dr. Efren Garcia-Ordiales
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Mining Methods and Prospection, University of Oviedo, Calle San Francisco, 3, 33003 Oviedo, Spain
Interests: geochemistry; trace metals; estuarine and marine pollution; Sediment; biota; mercury

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rapid industrialization and urbanization have led to the worsening of environmental quality, especially in coastal environments (i.e., estuaries, lagoons, bays, and harbors), which are subjected to several pressures (i.e., industrial, agricultural, and sewage effluents; shipping; oil spills; river nutrient inputs; and atmospheric depositions). In these environments, sediments represent the final sink and the potential secondary sources, for water column and biota, of several contaminants. Thus, potential toxic elements (PTEs), persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) harm marine life, endanger human health, and often lead to expensive mitigation procedures.

This Special Issue of Applied Sciences is a valuable opportunity to publish recent studies related to the contamination of sediments, water, and biota in coastal environments and to assess the bioavailability, fate, and transport of contaminants. Moreover, the risk assessment and management of these sites will be also considered.

Therefore, this Special Issue will cover the following subjects:

  • Source, fate, and effect of contaminants in sediments of coastal ecosystems.
  • Modeling of sediment source, transport, and storage in coastal ecosystems.
  • Geochemical approaches to bottom sediments to assess anthropogenic changes in coastal environments.
  • Sediment–water interactions and dynamics in coastal environments affected by anthropogenic modifications.
  • Evaluation of the mobility of contaminants from sediments to the water column and biota
  • Solutions to prevent and to mitigate the harmful effects of contaminants on aquatic life.

This Special Issue seeks contributions from all around the world and welcomes high-quality papers that examine, at a local or large scale, the effects, interactions, and management of potential contaminants on the marine environment.

Dr. Alessandro Acquavita
Dr. Stefano Covelli
Dr. Efren Garcia-Ordiales
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sediment contamination
  • contaminants
  • coastal environments
  • water column
  • trophic chain
  • risk assessment
  • management

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Variations in Concentrations and Ratio of Soluble Forms of Nutrients in Atmospheric Depositions and Effects for Marine Coastal Areas of Crimea, Black Sea
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11509; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311509 - 04 Dec 2021
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Abstract
Atmospheric depositions have been recently recognized as an important source of nutrients for off-shore marine systems, in line with the coastal input and physical exchange. The input of nutrients with atmospheric depositions can change their inventory and ratio in the euphotic zone, thus [...] Read more.
Atmospheric depositions have been recently recognized as an important source of nutrients for off-shore marine systems, in line with the coastal input and physical exchange. The input of nutrients with atmospheric depositions can change their inventory and ratio in the euphotic zone, thus increase the rate of primary production and the type of predominant phytoplankton. The influence of atmospheric depositions, temporal variations of this influence and consequences of this deposition have been neglected. Monitoring of nutrients in atmospheric depositions of Crimea in 2015–2020 has allowed studying of multi-scale variations in their input to coastal areas and scaling the effects of this input. It has been found that the contribution of dry deposition in the total flux of nutrients is more significant for silicates and phosphates. Intra-annual variations in concentrations of nitrogen reveal a maximum in an urbanized area for the cold period of year, due to burning of extra fuel. On the contrary, increasing concentrations of nitrogen have been detected in a rural area in warm period. High values of concentrations of phosphorus and silica are typical for dry summer period and associated with dust transport from natural and anthropogenic sources. The N:P:Si ratio in the atmospheric depositions has been significantly shifted towards nitrogen as compared to the stoichiometric ratio. The results obtained in this work suggest that additional flux of nutrients with atmospheric depositions is minor at the annual scale, but it may change the local inventory and C:N:P ratio in the surface layer of the sea on a daily-time scale. The input of nutrients with atmospheric depositions can lead to additional (up to twofold) production of organic matter and result in additional oxygen consumption, when this surplus organic matter sinks and is oxidized, thus supporting suboxic conditions in near-shore areas. Full article
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Article
Metal Binding and Sources of Humic Substances in Recent Sediments from the Cananéia-Iguape Estuarine-Lagoon Complex (South-Eastern Brazil)
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(18), 8466; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11188466 - 12 Sep 2021
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Abstract
The Cananéia-Iguape estuarine–lagoon complex (São Paulo state, Brazil) is a natural laboratory to study metal binding by humic substances (HS) in subtropical settings. This transitional environment is evolving into a freshwater environment due to water input from the Ribeira River, funneled through the [...] Read more.
The Cananéia-Iguape estuarine–lagoon complex (São Paulo state, Brazil) is a natural laboratory to study metal binding by humic substances (HS) in subtropical settings. This transitional environment is evolving into a freshwater environment due to water input from the Ribeira River, funneled through the Valo Grande Canal (Iguape). Past mining activities in the Ribeira River basin and maritime traffic are suspected to be potential sources of trace metals in the system. In this study, the trace metal contents of Free Humic Acids (FHA), Bound Humic Acids (BHA), and Fulvic Acids (FA) extracted from sedimentary organic matter were investigated. Moreover, the sources of HS were traced using their stable carbon isotope compositions and C/N ratios. The results suggested a mixed marine–terrestrial source of FHA, BHA, and FA. Copper and Cr were the most abundant trace metals bound to HS. On average, Cu showed concentrations of 176, 115, and 37.9 μg g−1 in FHA, BHA, and FA, respectively, whereas Cr showed average concentrations of 47.4, 86.3, and 43.9 μg g−1 in FHA, BHA, and FA, respectively. Marine FHA showed the highest binding capacity for trace metals, whereas terrestrial FA derived from the decay of mangrove organic matter showed the lowest binding capacity. Full article
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Article
Legacy of Past Mining Activity Affecting the Present Distribution of Dissolved and Particulate Mercury and Methylmercury in an Estuarine Environment (Nalón River, Northern Spain)
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4396; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104396 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 578
Abstract
At the Nalón River estuary (Asturias, Northern Spain), the occurrence of Hg is due to historical mining activity which has resulted in environmental issues of great concern. Although several studies have investigated the sediment compartment regarding Hg contamination, no information is currently available [...] Read more.
At the Nalón River estuary (Asturias, Northern Spain), the occurrence of Hg is due to historical mining activity which has resulted in environmental issues of great concern. Although several studies have investigated the sediment compartment regarding Hg contamination, no information is currently available on the fate of Hg and MeHg in the water column. Considering different hydrodynamic/seasonal conditions, water samples were collected along the estuary to evaluate Hg and MeHg distribution and partitioning behaviour between solid and aqueous phases. The complementary effect of the river discharge and tidal currents contributed to the prevalence of the dissolved (4.02 ± 1.33 ng L−1) or particulate (8.37 ± 4.20 ng L−1) Hg under different conditions of discharge in summer and autumn, respectively. Conversely, particulate MeHg prevailed when the river flow was low, especially at the estuary mouth (25.8 ± 19.1 pg L−1) and most likely due to the resuspension of fine particles promoted by a stronger tidal current. In comparison with the total Hg concentration, extremely low amounts of dissolved and particulate MeHg were observed, and strong interactions between MeHg and organic carbon highlighted a negligible risk of increased mobility and potential bioaccumulation of MeHg. Full article
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Article
Behaviour of Metal(loid)s at the Sediment-Water Interface in an Aquaculture Lagoon Environment (Grado Lagoon, Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy)
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 2350; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11052350 - 06 Mar 2021
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Abstract
The cycling of metal(loid)s at the sediment–water interface (SWI) was evaluated at two selected sites (VN1 and VN3) in an active fish farm in the Grado Lagoon (Northern Adriatic, Italy). In situ experiments using a transparent benthic chamber and the collection of short [...] Read more.
The cycling of metal(loid)s at the sediment–water interface (SWI) was evaluated at two selected sites (VN1 and VN3) in an active fish farm in the Grado Lagoon (Northern Adriatic, Italy). In situ experiments using a transparent benthic chamber and the collection of short sediment cores were performed, to investigate the behavior of metal(loid)s in the solid (sediments) and dissolved (porewaters) phases. Total and labile concentration of metal(loid)s were also determined in sediments, to quantify their potential mobility. Comparable total concentrations were found at both sites, excluding As, Mn, Pb and V, which were higher at VN3. Metal(loid) porewater profiles showed a diagenetic sequence and a close dependence with redox (suboxic/anoxic) conditions in the surface sediments. Positive diffusive fluxes along with benthic fluxes, particularly at the more oxic site, VN1, were found for almost all metal(loid)s, indicating their tendency to migrate towards the overlying water column. Despite sediments at two sites exhibiting high total metal(loid) concentrations and moderate effluxes at the SWI, the results suggest that they are hardly remobilized from the sediments. Recycling of metal(loid)s from the SWI would not constitute a threat for the aquatic trophic chain in the fish farm. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Anthropogenic Metal Pollution at Osisko Lake: Sediments Characterization for Reclamation Purposes
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 2298; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11052298 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
The anthropogenic pollution of lake ecosystems by human activities (e.g., mining industries) is recognized as a serious issue. The Osisko urban lake located in Rouyn-Noranda (Quebec, Canada) was used partially as a waste disposal facility for many decades, causing a heavy pollution. The [...] Read more.
The anthropogenic pollution of lake ecosystems by human activities (e.g., mining industries) is recognized as a serious issue. The Osisko urban lake located in Rouyn-Noranda (Quebec, Canada) was used partially as a waste disposal facility for many decades, causing a heavy pollution. The main undertakings of this study are (i) assessing the mineralogical and geochemical properties of lake Osisko sediments, and (ii) studying the pollution that occurred within lake water due to the sediments’ reactivity. Water and sediments across the lake were collected in different sensitive locations. Within the sediment samples, two parts were distinguished: a small layer of black vase over grey sediments. The black vase resembled organic matter while the gray sediment seemed close to clean lake sediments. The collected samples were characterized for their physical (particle size distribution, specific gravity and specific surface area), chemical (minor and major elements as well as total sulfur and carbon) and mineralogical (X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope) properties. Additionally, the reactivity of sediments was studied using weathering cells to quantify chemical species leaching and their releasing rates. The results showed that the vase was the only contaminated part with high concentrations of sulfur and metals such as copper, zinc and iron. Geochemical data showed that the composite sample and the vase potentially cause contaminated acid drainage if they are exposed to atmospheric conditions. Indeed, the pH values of the leachates from both samples were between 4 and 6, while those corresponding to sediments remained around circumneutral values. Quantitatively, the contaminant release from the tested samples was variable. Indeed, the Fe cumulative concentrations were around 200, 80 and 20 mg/kg for the vase, composite and sediment samples, respectively. Similarly, the Zn cumulative concentrations were around 4500, 4200, and below the detection limit for vase, composite and sediment samples, respectively. The same tendency was observed for Cu, S, and Fe. Thus, sediments within Osisko lake present a risk for water contamination if they are resuspended or dredged out of the lake. Consequently, they should be stabilized before their disposal. The samples’ high Cu contents also offer the possibility of their reprocessing. Full article
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Review

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Review
Review of Studies on Joint Recovery of Macroalgae and Marine Debris by Hydrothermal Liquefaction
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12020569 - 07 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 341
Abstract
At the moment, macroalgae blooms in sea waters, the rotting of which causes greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the formation of a negative ecological and economic situation in coastal zones, which has become a serious problem. Fuel production through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) [...] Read more.
At the moment, macroalgae blooms in sea waters, the rotting of which causes greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the formation of a negative ecological and economic situation in coastal zones, which has become a serious problem. Fuel production through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of macroalgae and marine debris is a promising solution to this ecological problem. The article provides an overview of studies on producing fuel from macroalgae and an assessment of the possibility of their joint recovery with marine debris. The optimal process conditions and their technological efficiency were evaluated. The article shows the feasibility of using heterogeneous catalysis and co-solvent to increase the yield of bio-oil and improve its quality. An assessment of the possibility of joint processing of waste macroalgae and marine debris showed the inexpediency of this direction. The high degree of drift macroalgae contamination also raises the question of the appropriateness of the preliminary extraction of other valuable components for nutrition use, such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and their derivatives. Full article
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