Marine Science Faculty Publications

In-Situ Measurements of Cu in an Estuarine Environment Using a Portable Spectrophotometric Analysis System

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Application of a portable in-situ spectrophotometric analysis system for the measurement of Cu in estuarine environments is described in this work. Our spectrophotometric elemental analysis system (SEAS) used for in-situ observations of Cu concentrations is capable of fully autonomous or user-controlled operations. The optical cells used in SEAS systems are flexible liquid core waveguides (LCWs) with optical path lengths as long as 5 m. The 1-m waveguide used in the present study provided a 3.0 nM detection limit and a 5.0% relative standard deviation for a 25 nM copper sample. Analysis times range between 1 and 5 min, allowing for acquisition of data on scales appropriate to the highly dynamic biogeochemical nature of copper in the coastal environment. Field deployments of SEAS-Cu in Tampa Bay, FL, showed low Cu concentrations near the mouth of the estuary (3−4 nM), with elevated concentrations (∼25 nM) in anthropogenically impacted regions of the bay (e.g., marinas and areas adjacent wastewater treatment plants). Transect data between Tampa Bay and a deep water harborage exhibited copper concentrations ranging between 5 and 50 nM.

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Environmental Science & Technology, v. 38, issue 2, p. 587-593