The objective is to quantify the repartition of trace metals between the dissolved and particulate phases in the estuarine environment under natural conditions.
The project will investigate the repartition of trace metals between the dissolved and particulate phases in the water column and sediments of the Rhone and Scheldt estuaries which are characterized by very different hydrodynamic regimes. Stable radionuclides will be used as tracers to study the fate of the following trace elements : manganese, iron, copper, cadmium, lead, cobalt, nickel and zinc.
Field investigations will be complemented by laboratory experiments to quantify the transfer rates of these elements at different time scales, taking into account :
the importance of ageing on the degree of trace metal fixation;
and the impact of metal fixation on the reversibility of transfer of trace elements between the dissolved and particulate phases in the saline zone.
The dynamic behaviour of particles in estuaries will be investigated as well, in order to quantify these phenomena and to develop predictive models that will provide estimates of residence time, age, transit time and concentrations of particulate and dissolved matter.
Special attention will be devoted to the study of the role of plankton in the transfer of trace metals between the dissolved and particulate matter.
This project is intended to complement the EROS 2000 project (contract STEP-CT900080).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts