SICB Division of Invertebrate Zoology (DIZ)

DIZ Researchers Database Entry

Marion McClary

Capping of Contaminated Sediments in Kearny Marsh
As a result of agricultural, commercial and industrial activities conducted in the absence of environmental regulations and enforcement in the past, sediments contaminated by organic compounds, heavy metals, and other potentially toxic chemicals have accumulated in many of the world’s deepwater and wetland environments. These sediment-borne contaminants can eventually become incorporated into aquatic food webs and adversely affect ecological receptors like benthic organisms and fish, and ultimately pose a risk to human health. In recent years the need for remediation or management of contaminated sediments has become increasingly evident. While capping of contaminated sediment is intended to reduce biota exposure, questions regarding the success of this approach in wetlands remain. To what extent does a clay-based cap, AquaBlok, provide a suitable substrate for colonization by benthic organisms? Does bioturbidation by organisms deposit contaminants on top of the cap making them once again available to organisms? The purpose of this project is to use benthic macroinvertebrates to evaluate the feasibility of using a clay capping material, AquaBlok, to address these questions in Kearny Marsh, New Jersey. Benthic macroinvertebrates will be identified, counted, and tested for contaminants with and without the presence of an AquaBlok cap to determine if the cap is suitable for colonization by macroinvertebrates and protects them from contamination.