Dissolved and particulate trace metals in a Scottish sea loch: An example of a pristine environment?

I R Hall, David J Hydes, Peter Statham, Julian Overnell

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31 Citations (Scopus)


In the near pristine environment of a silled fjord on the west coast of Scotland samples were taken for the determination of dissolved and particulate trace metals (Fe, Mn, Cu, Ni, Cd, Zn and Pb), together with nutrient and hydrographic data, during 19 surveys carried out over a year. An indication of the pristine nature of the environment are the low concentrations of dissolved silicon, phosphate and nitrate which are considerably lower than those of coastal waters which are subject to larger anthropogenic burdens. Distributions of dissolved Cu, Ni and Cd were found to broadly reflect conservative mixing of freshwater and seawater with both end members having similar concentrations. The concentration of dissolved Cu and Ni in seawater entering upper Loch Linnhe (Cu 0.28 mu g 1(-1); Ni 0.26 mu g 1(-1)) was consistent with the 1:1 conservative mix of Irish Sea water and North Atlantic surface water predicted from radiocaesium tracer experiments (Mackay & Baxter, 1985). Atmospheric input of trace metals to upper Loch Linnhe appeared to be a relatively minor term in the mass balance relative to fluvial inputs. Values of distribution coefficients K-d were similar to those previously reported for the coastal environment. Iron showed the strongest affinity for the suspended sediments; with particulate percentages of the total load usually greater than 80%. Lead and Mn showed a similar strong affinity to the particle phase. For Cu, Ni and Zn the mass of the element in the dissolved phase was generally greater than that in the particulate fraction. Cadmium, was least associated with the particles, with typically greater than 90% existing in the dissolved phase. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-854
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • CD
  • Environmental Sciences
  • CU
  • MN
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • NI


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