The Sacca di Goro and Sacca di Scardovari are two coastal lagoons of the Po River delta facing the northern Adriatic Sea. They are sensitive ecosystems both from the naturalistic and socio-economic point of view, since they are included in a natural park and are high productivity shellfish sites. Bottom sediments from the two lagoons have been analysed for their textural and geochemical (major and trace elements by XRF) composition in order to identify natural backgrounds and anthropogenic inputs. OC, N and δ13COC data have been also carried out by EA-IRMS to highlight the association of heavy metals with inorganic or organic sedimentary components. Results show that abundances of siderophile (Cr, Ni, Co) heavy metals in samples from the two lagoons are generally in the range of those recorded in alluvial sediments from the neighbours and are associated with the finest (clayey) fraction. Among chalcophile heavy metals, Pb and Zn display significant enrichments relative to the local geochemical backgrounds suggesting anthropogenic sources. They appear to be preferentially associated with the sedimentary organic matter that, according to the isotopic composition, is mainly formed by the incorporation of different proportions of macroalgae and macrophytes that have a significant bioaccumulation capacity. Taking into consideration that the extent of the algal biomass is sensitive to anthropogenic pressure and climatic changes, the trace element budget of sediments from these lagoons has to be monitored in the future, also to assess the impact of heavy metals on shellfish production.

Natural vs anthropogenic components in sediments from the Po River delta coastal lagoons (NE Italy)

Bianchini, G.
Writing – Review & Editing
2018

Abstract

The Sacca di Goro and Sacca di Scardovari are two coastal lagoons of the Po River delta facing the northern Adriatic Sea. They are sensitive ecosystems both from the naturalistic and socio-economic point of view, since they are included in a natural park and are high productivity shellfish sites. Bottom sediments from the two lagoons have been analysed for their textural and geochemical (major and trace elements by XRF) composition in order to identify natural backgrounds and anthropogenic inputs. OC, N and δ13COC data have been also carried out by EA-IRMS to highlight the association of heavy metals with inorganic or organic sedimentary components. Results show that abundances of siderophile (Cr, Ni, Co) heavy metals in samples from the two lagoons are generally in the range of those recorded in alluvial sediments from the neighbours and are associated with the finest (clayey) fraction. Among chalcophile heavy metals, Pb and Zn display significant enrichments relative to the local geochemical backgrounds suggesting anthropogenic sources. They appear to be preferentially associated with the sedimentary organic matter that, according to the isotopic composition, is mainly formed by the incorporation of different proportions of macroalgae and macrophytes that have a significant bioaccumulation capacity. Taking into consideration that the extent of the algal biomass is sensitive to anthropogenic pressure and climatic changes, the trace element budget of sediments from these lagoons has to be monitored in the future, also to assess the impact of heavy metals on shellfish production.
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