Relocation effects of dredged marine sediments on mercury geochemistry: Venice lagoon, Italy

Seunghee Han, Joris Gieskes, Anna Obraztsova, Dimitri D. Deheyn, Bradley M. Tebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Understanding the biogeochemical process of Hg is critical in the overall evaluation of the ecological impacts resulting from the reuse of Hg-contaminated dredged sediment. Sediment banks (V1 and V2) were constructed with freshly dredged sediments from a navigational channel in Venice Lagoon, Italy, with the goal of clarifying potential differences in the biogeochemistry of Hg between the reused dredged sediments and those from surrounding sites (SS1 and S2). Toward this purpose, Hg and monomethylmercury (MMHg) concentrations, and Hg methylation rates (MMRs) in the surface 2.5 cm sediments were monitored, along with ammonium, iron, sulfate and sulfide concentrations in the pore waters of banks and surrounding sites from November 2005 to February 2007. Pore water analyses indicate that the bank sediments are characterized by lower levels of sulfate and iron, and by higher levels of ammonium and sulfide compared to the surrounding sediments. With respect to Hg speciation, the fractions of MMHg in total Hg (%MMHg/Hg) and the MMRs were significantly lower in the bank V1 compared to those in the reference site SS1, whereas the %MMHg/Hg and the MMRs were similar between V2 and S2. A negative correlation is found between the logarithm of the particle-water partition coefficient of Hg and the MMR, indicating that the reduced MMRs in V1 are caused by the limited concentrations of dissolved Hg. Organic matter appears to play a key role in the control of MMR via the control of Hg solubility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 30 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Mercury
  • Pore water
  • Sediment pollution
  • Venice Lagoon
  • Vertical profiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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