Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The study of lake sediments allows to reconstruct the history of past and present populations who lived in a drainage basin. Sediments transported by wind, rainfall and rivers reveal both anthropogenic and natural origin influences. In order to manage the quality of hydrological resources correctly, it is of great importance to understand what happened in the past in areas such as the Mediterranean region where the lack of fresh water is a real problem.

Three sediment core samples from the large Alimini Lake (near Lecce) were studied. These cores allowed to reconstruct the history of the lake over the last hundred years. Samples were separated every 1cm and analysed by AAS. Hence it was possible to observe the temporal distribution of the concentration of Cu, Cr, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. Moreover, concentration of C, N and H has been evaluated by combustion analysis.

For all the elements, with the exception of Mn and C, a decreasing of the concentration has been noticed at a depth of 24-25cm. This layer had probably been formed during the 1950s. Mn and C instead have a different distribution: lower concentration values are found in the central part, while upper and lower layers of the probe have higher concentration.

Increasing concentrations for all elements apart from Mn and C are mainly due to the introduction of more intensive and mechanized agricultural practices, together with a massive use of chemical products containing trace metal elements. However, concentrations of none of the elements investigated appear to be a problem in the Alimini Lake, and they are below the limits imposed for good quality lake sediment. ment.

Additional information

Authors: CENCI R M ET AL, JRC, EI, Ispra (IT);BASSET A, University of Lecce, Department of Biology, Lecce (IT);LIGETTA G, University of Lecce, Department of Biology, Lecce (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: The 11th International Symposium for Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region. Held in: Limassol (CY), 6-10 October 2001
Record Number: 200113925 / Last updated on: 2001-10-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en