Innovative 'Artificial Mussels' technology for assessing spatial and temporal distribution of metals in Goulburn-Murray catchments waterways, Victoria, Australia: Effects of climate variability (dry vs. wet years)

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Abstract

The "Artificial mussel" (AM), a novel passive sampling technology, was used for the first time in Australia in freshwater to monitor and assess the risk of trace metals (Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, and Zn). AMs were deployed at 10 sites within the Goulburn-Murray Water catchments, Victoria, Australia during a dry year (2009-2010) and a wet year (2010-2011). Our results showed that the AMs accumulated all the five metals. Cd, Pb, Hg were detected during the wet year but below detection limits during the dry year. At some sites close to orchards, vine yards and farming areas, elevated levels of Cu were clearly evident during the dry year, while elevated levels of Zn were found during the wet year; the Cu indicates localized inputs from the agricultural application of copper fungicide. The impacts from old mines were significantly less compared 'hot spots'. Our study demonstrated that climate variability (dry, wet years) can influence the metal inputs to waterways via different transport pathways. Using the AMs, we were able to identify various 'hot spots' of heavy metals, which may pose a potential risk to aquatic ecosystems (sub-lethal effects to fish) and public (via food chain metal bioaccumulation and biomagnification) in the Goulburn-Murray Water catchments. The State Protection Policy exempted artificial channels and drains from protection of beneficial use (including protection of aquatic ecosystems) and majority of sites ('hot spots') were located within artificial irrigation channels. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
JournalEnvironment International
Volume50
Early online date12 Oct 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2012

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temporal distribution
catchment
spatial distribution
aquatic ecosystem
metal
climate
agricultural application
sublethal effect
vine
fungicide
orchard
food chain
bioaccumulation
drain
trace metal
irrigation
heavy metal
copper
water
sampling

Citation

Kibria, G., Lau, T. C., & Wu, R. (2012). Innovative 'Artificial Mussels' technology for assessing spatial and temporal distribution of metals in Goulburn-Murray catchments waterways, Victoria, Australia: Effects of climate variability (dry vs. wet years). Environment International, 50, 38-46. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2012.09.006

Keywords

  • Artificial mussel (AM)
  • Trace metals
  • Hot spots
  • Climate variability