Journal of Environmental Protection

Volume 4, Issue 10 (October 2013)

ISSN Print: 2152-2197   ISSN Online: 2152-2219

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Coupling between the Changes in CO2 Concentration and Sediment Biogeochemistry in Mudflat of Salinas de San Pedro, California, USA

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2013.410134    4,244 Downloads   6,343 Views   Citations


We investigated the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) on biogeochemistry of marsh sediment including speciation of selected heavy metals in Salinas de San Pedro mudflat in California. The Salinas de San Pedro mudflat has higher carbon (C) content than the vast majority of fully-vegetated salt marshes even with the higher tidal action in the mudflat. Sources for CO2 were identified as atmospheric CO2 as well as due to local fault degassing process. We measured carbon dioxide, methane, total organic carbon, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and heavy metal concentration in various salt marsh locations. Overall, our results showed that CO2 concentration ranging from 418.7 to 436.9 (ppm), which are slightly different in various chambers but are in good agreement with some heavy metal concentrations values in mudflat at or around the same location. The selected metal concentration values (ppm) ranging from 0.003 - 0.011 (As); 0.001 - 0.005 (Cd); 0.04 - 0.02 (Cr); 0.13 - 0.38 (Cu); 0.11 - 0.38 (Pb); 0.0009 - 0.020 (Se); and 0.188 - 0.321 (Zn). The low dissolved oxygen (ppm) in the pore water sediment indicated suboxic environment. Additionally, CO2 (ppm) and loss on ignition (LOI) (%) correlated inversely; the higher CO2 content, the lower was the LOI (%); that is to say the excess CO2 causes higher rates of decomposition and therefore it leads to lower LOI (%) on the mudflat surface. It appears that the elevated CO2 makes changes in salt marsh pore water chemistry for instance the free ionic metal (Cu2+, Pb2+, etc.) speciation is one of the most reactive form because simply assimilated by the non-decayed or alive organisms in sediment of salt marsh and/or in water. This means that CO2 not only is a sign of improvement in plant productivity, but also activates microbial decomposition through increases in dissolved organic carbon availability. CO2 also increases acidification processes such as anaerobic degradation of microorganism and oxidation of reduced components. The heavy metal concentrations in sediment samples were slightly higher in suboxic layer, yet it appears that salt marsh sediments in Salinas de San Pedro act like a sink for nutrient and carbon by maximizing carbon sequestration.

Cite this paper

M. Rezaie-Boroon, S. Diaz, V. Torres, T. Lazzaretto and D. Deheyn, "Coupling between the Changes in CO2 Concentration and Sediment Biogeochemistry in Mudflat of Salinas de San Pedro, California, USA," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 10, 2013, pp. 1173-1180. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.410134.

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