Influence of estuarine processes on spatiotemporal variation in bioavailable selenium

Marine Ecology Progress Series
By: , and 



Dynamic processes (physical, chemical and biological) challenge our ability to quantify and manage the ecological risk of chemical contaminants in estuarine environments. Selenium (Se) bioavailability (defined by bioaccumulation), stable isotopes and molar carbon-tonitrogen ratios in the benthic clam Potamocorbula amurensis, an important food source for predators, were determined monthly for 17 yr in northern San Francisco Bay. Se concentrations in the clams ranged from a low of 2 to a high of 22 μg g-1 over space and time. Little of that variability was stochastic, however. Statistical analyses and preliminary hydrodynamic modeling showed that a constant mid-estuarine input of Se, which was dispersed up- and down-estuary by tidal currents, explained the general spatial patterns in accumulated Se among stations. Regression of Se bioavailability against river inflows suggested that processes driven by inflows were the primary driver of seasonal variability. River inflow also appeared to explain interannual variability but within the range of Se enrichment established at each station by source inputs. Evaluation of risks from Se contamination in estuaries requires the consideration of spatial and temporal variability on multiple scales and of the processes that drive that variability.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of estuarine processes on spatiotemporal variation in bioavailable selenium
Series title Marine Ecology Progress Series
DOI 10.3354/meps10503
Volume 492
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research
Publisher location Oldendorf, Germany
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Western Branch
Description 16 p.
First page 41
Last page 56
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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