Type of Presentation

Poster

Session Title

The Role of Eelgrass Ecosystems in the Salish Sea

Description

The Possession Sound estuary is located between Everett and Whidbey Island. In Washington state, two study locations for the students enrolled in the Ocean Research College Academy include Mount Baker Terminal and Whidbey Island, both contain large eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds, an underwater sea grass that sustains a healthy estuary. Eelgrass helps prevent underwater erosion, removes nutrients from the substrate and transfer them to the surroundings, and supports major food chains. Zinc and copper are two metals that exist within Possession Sound, entering the water column through storm drains and the Snohomish River via anthropogenic runoff and erosion. In 2015, sediment samples were collected from Mount Baker Terminal, which is in close proximity to three storm drains. Eelgrass samples were collected from Mount Baker Terminal and Whidbey Island. It was hypothesized that eelgrass samples with a closer proximity to storm drains would contain higher amounts of zinc and copper while eelgrass located further away from storm drains would contain a lower concentration of heavy metals. Data were analyzed by a local lab with approved EPA protocols using an IPC/MS for concentration of heavy metals at the storm drains and within the eelgrass itself. The concentration of zinc was 34.60 mg/kg in the sediment at Mount Baker Terminal, while copper had a concentration of 8.69 mg/kg. The zinc concentration in the sediment at Whidbey Island was 15.6 mg/kg, while copper had a concentration of 5.46 mg/kg. The concentration of zinc in the eelgrass blades at Mount Baker Terminal was 37.66 mg/kg, while copper had a concentration of 9.622mg/kg. The concentration of zinc in eelgrass blades at Whidbey Island was 18.24 mg/kg and copper had a concentration of 1.824 mg/kg. These preliminary results support the connection of anthropogenic influences on the uptake of metals by eel grass and warrants further study.

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Uptake of Heavy Metals on Eelgrass in Possession Sound

2016SSEC

The Possession Sound estuary is located between Everett and Whidbey Island. In Washington state, two study locations for the students enrolled in the Ocean Research College Academy include Mount Baker Terminal and Whidbey Island, both contain large eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds, an underwater sea grass that sustains a healthy estuary. Eelgrass helps prevent underwater erosion, removes nutrients from the substrate and transfer them to the surroundings, and supports major food chains. Zinc and copper are two metals that exist within Possession Sound, entering the water column through storm drains and the Snohomish River via anthropogenic runoff and erosion. In 2015, sediment samples were collected from Mount Baker Terminal, which is in close proximity to three storm drains. Eelgrass samples were collected from Mount Baker Terminal and Whidbey Island. It was hypothesized that eelgrass samples with a closer proximity to storm drains would contain higher amounts of zinc and copper while eelgrass located further away from storm drains would contain a lower concentration of heavy metals. Data were analyzed by a local lab with approved EPA protocols using an IPC/MS for concentration of heavy metals at the storm drains and within the eelgrass itself. The concentration of zinc was 34.60 mg/kg in the sediment at Mount Baker Terminal, while copper had a concentration of 8.69 mg/kg. The zinc concentration in the sediment at Whidbey Island was 15.6 mg/kg, while copper had a concentration of 5.46 mg/kg. The concentration of zinc in the eelgrass blades at Mount Baker Terminal was 37.66 mg/kg, while copper had a concentration of 9.622mg/kg. The concentration of zinc in eelgrass blades at Whidbey Island was 18.24 mg/kg and copper had a concentration of 1.824 mg/kg. These preliminary results support the connection of anthropogenic influences on the uptake of metals by eel grass and warrants further study.