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Trace metals in aquatic environments of a mangrove ecosystem in Nansha, Guangzhou, South China: pollution status, sources, and ecological risk assessment

  • Chen, Yingjie1, 2
  • Huang, Huanfang1, 2
  • Ding, Yang1, 2
  • Chen, Wenwen3
  • Luo, Jie4
  • Li, Hui1, 2
  • Wu, Jian1, 2
  • Chen, Wei1
  • Qi, Shihua1, 2
  • 1 China University of Geosciences, School of Environmental Studies, Wuhan, 430074, China , Wuhan (China)
  • 2 China University of Geosciences, State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, Wuhan, 430074, China , Wuhan (China)
  • 3 Guilin University of Technology, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guilin, 541004, China , Guilin (China)
  • 4 Yangtze University, College of Resources and Environment, Wuhan, 430100, China , Wuhan (China)
Published Article
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publication Date
Sep 11, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-019-7732-5
Springer Nature


Mangrove forests are widely located along coastlines. They have been identified to be inimitable and dynamic ecosystems. This study investigated the trace metals in mangrove water and surface sediments of Nansha, Guangzhou, China. Zn (148.42 ± 247.47 μg L−1) was the most abundant metal in waters, followed by As (82.34 ± 118.95 μg L−1), Pb (22.96 ± 120.50 μg L−1), and Ni (19.42 ± 47.84 μg L−1). In sediments, the most abundant metal was Fe (27.04 ± 1.91 g kg−1), followed by Mn (1049.04 ± 364.11 mg kg−1), Zn (566.33 ± 244.37 mg kg−1), and Cr (106.9 ± 28.51 mg kg−1). Higher contents of trace metals were detected in vicinity areas of the river mouth. The results of pollution indexes, including contamination factor, enrichment factor, and geo-accumulation index, indicated the pollution of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn in sediments. The Spearman correlation and cluster analysis were used to evaluate the metal sources. In water, the significant correlations among Zn and water chemical parameters (Na, Mg, K, Ca, conductivity, pH, and Cl) might indicate the natural source of Zn from the seawater. Water sampling sites in estuaries and coastal areas were clustered separately, which might indicate the influences of upstream water and the seawater, respectively. In sediments, the significant relationships among Cd, Pb, and Zn concentrations were likely to imply the emissions from industries and exploitation of the Pb-Zn mine. The occurrence of Cr and Cu in sediments can be attributed to the spills of lubricants or oil. Cd in sediments could cause serious ecological risk.

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