Trace contaminants enter major estuaries such as San Francisco Bay from a variety of point and nonpoint sources and may then be repartitioned between solid and aqueous phases or altered in chemical speciation. Chemical speciation affects the bioavailability of metals as well as organic ligands to planktonic and benthic organisms, and the partitioning of these solutes between phases. Our previous, work in south San Francisco Bay indicated that sulfide complexation with metals may be of particular importance because of the thermodynamic stability of these complexes. Although the water column of the bay is consistently well-oxygenated and typically unstratified with respect to dissolved oxygen, the kinetics of sulfide oxidation could exert at least transient controls on metal speciation. Our initial data on dissolved sulfides in the main channel of both the northern and southern components of the bay consistently indicate submicromolar concenrations (from <1 nM to 162 nM), as one would expect in an oxidizing environment. However, chemical speciation calculations over the range of observed sulfide concentrations indicate that these trace concentrations in the bay water column can markedly affect chemical speciation of ecologically significant trace metals such as cadmium, copper, and zinc. ?? 1993 Estuarine Research Federation.
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Dissolved sulfides in the oxic water column of San Francisco Bay, California