Validating a Biogeochemical Watershed Disturbance and Climate Change Proxy: Tampa Bay. FL

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Poster Session

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The Tampa Bay estuary and watershed have been impacted in the past century by residential and industrial development activities that have resulted in pollutant release via runoff and wastewater discharges. Mangrove forest loss, mining activities, accidental spills and nutrient loading have also decreased water quality in this aquatic environment. The primary goal of this project is to provide historical water quality and climate information by determining biogeochemical properties of oyster shells and sediments collected from various locations throughout the Tampa Bay region including ancient Native American shell mounds. Biogeochemical properties of shells collected from these middens will provide insight regarding historical water quality of Tampa Bay. It is expected that a pristine, pre-Columbian baseline may be revealed from the midden shells, and changes in the biogeochemical record may be demonstrated over the recent past from the industrial age to modern day on a seasonal and yearly scale. In order to achieve the goal of this project, midden shells and sediments will be collected and compared from three stations in Tampa Bay that range from undisturbed to severely impacted; Emerson Point, Weedon Island, and Bayboro Harbor, respectively. Water and sediment samples have also been examined to provide additional information regarding radiogeochemical properties of the three study sites. Sediments will be dated using gamma spectrometry techniques (U/Th series). Standard ICP-OES methods are being utilized to determine concentrations of trace, minor and major elements in the oyster and sediment samples. This project is part of a larger on-going investigation. If successful, this investigation will ultimately yield a high-resolution tool for establishing the history of terrestrial land use and climate change.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Presented at the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting on December 10-14 in San Francisco, CA