The distribution of trace metals in Florida Bay sediments

Valentina G. Caccia, Frank J. Millero, Albert Palanques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


The distribution of trace metals based on surface sediments collected at 40 stations across Florida Bay was done in June, November and February 2000-2001. Concentrations of Sc, V, Ba, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Pb, Mn, Ni, Zn, Al and Mg were determined by ICP-MS, and the total Fe was determined by spectrophotometry. Organic carbon (OC), nitrogen (N), and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) were also measured. Eleven of 13 metals showed a similar distribution pattern for the various months studied. Maximum concentrations of metals were lower than those found in most estuarine systems and were concentrated in the north-central and western zones of the Bay. The Mn and Fe concentrations, unlike the other metals, gradually decreased from north (Everglades) to south (Florida Keys). Some metals (Ni, Zn, Cu, Cr, Pb and Ba) associated with petroleum use showed high concentrations at stations near the Tavernier marina. Florida Bay sediments are predominately CaCO3 (65.9-92.5%). The greatest value for OC (5.5%) and the lowest value of CaCO 3 (65.9%) were found in the western zone. Trace metal distribution patterns are similar to the OC and N in the sediments. There was a strong correlation between most metals (V>Cu>Ni>Cr>Al>Co>Ba>Zn> Pb>Mg) and the percentage of OC. The maximum C/N values (9-12) were observed at the stations with the highest OC, where dense colonies of seagrass are found and most of the metals are concentrated. All metals except Mg, Mn and Co showed a strong correlation with Al and the fine fraction of the sediments (aluminosilicates) associated with continental input and river runoff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1420-1433
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Carbonate estuary
  • Florida Bay
  • ICP-MS
  • Seagrass
  • Sediments
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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