Geochemistry of large benthic foraminifera Amphisorus hemprichii as a high-resolution proxy for lead pollution in coastal environments

Netramani Sagar, Aleksey Sadekov, Peter Scott, Talia Jenner, Ashiwin Vadiveloo, Navid R. Moheimani, Malcolm McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anthropogenic lead (Pb) contamination resulting from the rapid growth of industrialization in coastal environments poses significant challenges. In this study, we report a novel approach utilising the large benthic foraminifera Amphisorus hemprichii as a biogeochemical archive for monitoring Pb pollution in tropical to warm-temperate coastal waters. Live juvenile specimens of A. hemprichii were cultured in the laboratory for 16 weeks with a range of seawater Pb concentrations. Lead uptake in both newly grown and pre-existing chambers of individual specimens was characterised using the microanalytical technique, Laser ablation-ICP mass spectrometry. We found that Pb concentration in the tests of cultured foraminifera in the laboratory is proportional to seawater [Pb] with the lead partition coefficient (KDPb) of 8.37 ± 0.3. This calibration together with a new biomineralisation model now enables A. hemprichii to be utilised as a naturally occurring bio-archive to quantitatively monitor anthropogenic Pb pollution in coastal waters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111918
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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