IdeaFest: Interdisciplinary Journal of Creative Works and Research from Cal Poly Humboldt


Anthropogenic impacts on marine environments can impact metal fluxes and concentrations available to marine species. Monitoring these impacts is necessary to better understand the interactions between the biotic and abiotic components of these ecosystems and mitigate the risk posed by harmful toxins introduced by human activities. Biomoniters, like macroscopic algae, are useful indicators that illuminate the bioaccumulation of toxins commonly introduced from anthropogenic activity. With this in mind, the concentrations of heavy metals zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), and copper (Cu) were analyzed via the assessment of algae (Representatives from Ulva, Mastocarpus, Fucus) in two sites in Humboldt County: Samoa (urbanized) and Petrolia (rural). Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) was used to quantify the concentration of metals in both algae and sedimental substrate, providing both algal metal content and a biota-sediment accumulation factor (BSAF). It was determined that the order of metal concentration followed Zn > Ni ≥ Cu within algae at both locations for all three algae families. This data is consistent with previous studies of algae species as bioindicators of heavy metal contamination (Kangas et al. 1984).



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