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Trace element proxies and stable isotopes used to identify water quality threats to elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) at two national parks in St. Croix, USVI

Published

Author(s)

Amanda L. Bayless, Steven J. Christopher, Jennifer Ness, Colleen E. Bryan Sallee, Russell D. Day, Cheryl M. Woodley, C. Anna Toline

Abstract

Chronic biological impairments of reef organisms have been documented at two national parks in St. Croix, USVI. Although several water quality parameters have been out of compliance with USVI water quality criteria, whether these parameters or other pollutants are responsible for coral health impacts, particularly the threatened elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, is unknown. Trace elements in sediment and in the skeleton of A. palmata were evaluated to determine the extent of contamination. Tissue δ13C and δ15N levels were measured as indicators for major sources of trace element exposure. Four sites had copper mass fractions above the invertebrate toxicity sediment quality guideline ERL (effects range low). Heavy metals (Pb, Zn) were significantly greater in A. palmata skeletons at Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve (SARI) than Buck Island Reef National Monument (BUIS). The δ15N and δ13C isotopic signatures also reflected greater anthropogenic inputs in SARI coral.
Citation
Marine Pollution Bulletin

Keywords

coral, Acropora palmata, trace element, stable isotope, coral skeleton, marine sediment, ICP-MS

Citation

Bayless, A. , Christopher, S. , Ness, J. , Bryan Sallee, C. , Day, R. , Woodley, C. and Toline, C. (2021), Trace element proxies and stable isotopes used to identify water quality threats to elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) at two national parks in St. Croix, USVI, Marine Pollution Bulletin, [online], https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112575 (Accessed May 17, 2024)

Issues

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Created June 11, 2021, Updated January 4, 2023