Masters Thesis

Trace element concentrations in living (stained) benthic foraminiferal calcite across a contamination gradient in Lake Macquarie, Australia

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between elevated trace metal contaminants and the incorporation of these contaminants into the tests of benthic foraminifera. Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney in New South Wales, was chosen as the study area because of a general gradient of trace metal contaminants related primarily to a lead zinc smelter that operated near the northern portions of the lake periodically from 1897 to 2003 (Gulson et al., 2004). The objectives of this study were: 1) to assess the bioavailability and uptake of trace elements within different taxa of foraminifera; 2) to quantify any relationships that may exist between concentrations of metals in foraminiferal tests and ambient trace metal concentrations in sediment and water; 3) and to develop a dependable methodology for detecting and monitoring bioavailable contaminants in modern and ancient marine environments.

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