^ successfully finished the project
Research topic: Comparison of heavy metal extraction methods in benthic foraminiferal studies.
Synopsis: Benthic foraminifera are valuable ecological indicators for numerous environmental conditions and stressors. One of these stressors is heavy metal (HM) contamination, which has been shown to play an integral in foraminiferal ecological variations. One of the difficulties in assessing the effects of heavy metals on foraminiferal ecology is the lack of standard methodology for measuring heavy metal bioavailability. The most common approach to assess HM contamination is via “total” chemical extraction, which consists of determining the “total” or bulk HM concentration of sediments. However, not all HM present in sediment are necessarily bioavailable to the foraminifers. For this project, I will compare results from two common sequential extraction methods (Tessier et al., 1979 and Mossop et al., 2003) and determine which method best correlates to observed patterns in foraminiferal ecology. Extractions and foraminiferal assemblage analysis will be performed on cores from Puerto Rico (representing a tropical assemblage). This project was funded by NOAA-CCME I (focal area of coastal intelligence).