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Free Content Fate and Effect of Naphthalenes: Controlled Ecosystem Pollution Experiment

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Approximately 10 g of naphthalenes (2 g of naphthalene, 4 g of methylnaphthalene, and 4 g of dimethylnaphthalenes) resulting in a nominal concentration of 160 μg/l, were added to 0.25-scale CEPEX enclosure during June, 1975 (ca. 2 m diameter and 15 m deep—68,000 liters). A second enclosure was retained as a control. After 1 day the amount of naphthalenes in the water was reduced by 50% and concentrations gradually decreased to near background during the following 20 days. Most of the decrease of naphthalenes could be accounted for by adsorption to sinking phytoplankton and microbial degradation. An immediate “crash” in the phytoplankton populations of both treated and untreated enclosures was observed and 3.2 g of naphthalenes were associated with sediment on day 4. The sediment was enriched in methylnaphthalenes (1500 mg) and dimethylnaphthalenes (1400 mg) with naphthalene a minor component (220 mg). Microbial degradation of naphthalene at a depth of 5-10 m rose from 0.04 μg/l/day from day zero to 3.3 μg/l/day after 3 days. Thus, on day 3, 18% of the 360 mg of naphthalene from the 5-10 m water was broken down to CO2 during the 24-h incubation.

Because of the immediate decline in the phytoplankton population in both enclosures, no studies were made of the effects of naphthalenes on phytoplankton. There was an immediate decline in the ctenophores in the treated enclosure, which was predicted from laboratory bioassay studies. Stocks of copepods were comparable in the two enclosures.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1977

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