Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 1585–1592 | Cite as

High levels of heavy metals in Western Arabian Gulf mangrove soils

  • Hanan AlmahasheerEmail author
Original Article


Major development along the Western Arabian Gulf coast has disturbed the marine environment, and led to increased concentrations of heavy metals in the coastal soils. The amount of 13 of these metals (Ag, Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, V and Zn) in Avicennia marina branches and leaves as well as in rhizosphere soil samples from two Bays 70 km apart (Tarut Bay; Saudi Arabia and Tubli Bay; Bahrain) was quantified. Heavy metal concentration in the two bays were similar and higher than those reported in other regions suggesting a generalized heavy metal pollution in the area. These concentrations are much higher than the international permissible limits of soil contaminations except for Iron and Manganese which were within the limits. The results indicate that marine environments in the area need recovery plans and monitoring.


Avicennia marina Contaminants Stabilization Bio-concentration factor Biogeochemical processes 



I am thankful to Science College Research Units at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), for providing chemicals and analyzing samples in ICP unit, in particular Norah Alnaim and Amnah Alharbi, as well as, my intern student Alanoud Alyami.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11033_2019_4603_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (9.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 10093 KB)


  1. 1.
    Ovečka M, Takáč T (2014) Managing heavy metal toxicity stress in plants: biological and biotechnological tools. Biotechnol Adv 32(1):73–86CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Naser H (2012) Metal concentrations in marine sediments influenced by anthropogenic activities in Bahrain, Arabian Gulf. Metal contaminations: sources, detection and environmental impacts. NOVA Science Publishers, Inc., New York, pp 157–175Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Youssef M, El-Sorogy A, Al Kahtany K, Al Otiaby N (2015) Environmental assessment of coastal surface sediments at Tarut Island, Arabian Gulf (Saudi Arabia). Mar Pollut Bull 96(1–2):424–433CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Poonian C (2003) The effects of the 1991 Gulf War on the marine and coastal environment of the Arabian Gulf: impact, recovery and future prospects. Management 44Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sheppard C, Al-Husiani M, Al-Jamali F, Al-Yamani F, Baldwin R, Bishop J et al (2010) The Gulf: a young sea in decline. Mar Pollut Bull 60(1):13–38. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Naser HA (2015) The role of environmental impact assessment in protecting coastal and marine environments in rapidly developing islands: the case of Bahrain, Arabian Gulf. Ocean Coast Manag 104:159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Babu DS, Sivalingam S, Machado T (2012) Need for adaptation strategy against global sea level rise: an example from Saudi coast of Arabian Gulf. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 17(7):821–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Proctor R, Flather RA, Elliott AJ (1994) Modelling tides and surface drift in the Arabian Gulf—application to the Gulf oil spill. Cont Shelf Res 14(5):531–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Price A, Sheppard C (1991) The Gulf: past, present and possible future states. Mar Pollut Bull 22(5):222–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Van Lavieren H, Burt J, Feary D, Cavalcante G, Marquis E, Benedetti L et al (2011) Managing the growing impacts of development on fragile coastal and marine ecosystems: lessons from the Gulf. A policy report, UNU-INWEH, Hamilton, ON, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Price ARG, Sheppard CRC, Roberts CM (1993) The Gulf: its biological setting. Mar Pollut Bull 27(C):9–15. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Almahasheer H (2018) Spatial coverage of mangrove communities in the Arabian Gulf. Environ Monit Assess 190(2):85CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Almahasheer H (2016) Ecosystem services of Avicennia marina in the Red Sea. PhD. Dissertation. King Abdullah University of Science and TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Almahasheer H, Serrano O, Duarte CM, Irigoien X (2018) Remobilization of heavy metals by mangrove leaves. Front Mar Sci 5:484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Thanh-Nho N, Strady E, Nhu-Trang TT, David F, Marchand C (2018) Trace metals partitioning between particulate and dissolved phases along a tropical mangrove estuary (Can Gio, Vietnam). Chemosphere 196:311–322CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tam NF, Wong YS (1995) Mangrove soils as sinks for wastewater-borne pollutants. Hydrobiologia 295(1–3):231–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    MacFarlane G, Pulkownik A, Burchett M (2003) Accumulation and distribution of heavy metals in the grey mangrove,Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh.: biological indication potential. Environ Pollut 123(1):139–151CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Almahasheer H, Al-Taisan W, Mohamed MK (2013) Mangrove deterioration in Tarut Bay on the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Pakhtunkhwa J Life Sci 01(02):49–59Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Naser H (2016) Management of marine protected zones—case study of Bahrain, Arabian Gulf. In Applied studies of coastal and marine environments. InTech, RejikaGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Abou Seedo K, Abido MS, Salih A, Abahussain A (2017) Structure and composition of mangrove associations in Tubli Bay of Bahrain as affected by municipal wastewater discharge and anthropogenic sedimentation. Int J Biodivers. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Al-Cibahy AS, Al-Khalifa K, Böer B, Samimi-Namin K (2012) Conservation of marine ecosystems with a special view to coral reefs in the Gulf. In: Riegl B, Purkis S. (eds) Coral reefs of the Gulf. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 337–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Scott DA (1995) A directory of wetlands in the Middle East. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ahmed M (1991) Recent benthic foraminifers from Tarut Bay, Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. J Micropalaeontol 10(1):33–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    ESRI (2017) World Countries. [Layer Package]. Esri data and maps.—overview
  25. 25.
    ESRI (2017) World Ocean Base. [Layer Package]. Esri data and maps.
  26. 26.
    Spalding MD, Fox HE, Allen GR, Davidson N, Ferdaña ZA, Finlayson M et al (2007) Marine ecoregions of the world: a bioregionalization of coastal and shelf areas. Bioscience 57(7):573–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Spalla S, Baffi C, Barbante C, Turretta C, Cozzi G, Beone G et al (2009) Determination of rare earth elements in tomato plants by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry techniques. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 23(20):3285–3292CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kingston H, Walter P (1995) Microwave assisted acid digestion of siliceous and organically based matrices. EPA Draft Method, 3052Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zhang W, Cai Y, Tu C, Ma LQ (2002) Arsenic speciation and distribution in an arsenic hyperaccumulating plant. Sci Total Environ 300(1–3):167–177PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Usman AR, Alkredaa RS, Al-Wabel M (2013) Heavy metal contamination in sediments and mangroves from the coast of Red Sea: Avicennia marina as potential metal bioaccumulator. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 97:263–270CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Baker AJ (1981) Accumulators and excluders-strategies in the response of plants to heavy metals. J Plant Nutr 3(1–4):643–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Abou Seedo K, Abido MS, Salih AA, Abahussain A (2017) Assessing heavy metals accumulation in the leaves and sediments of urban mangroves (Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh.) in Bahrain. Int J Ecol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sadiq M, Zaidi TH (1994) Sediment composition and metal concentrations in mangrove leaves from the Saudi coast of the Arabian Gulf. Sci Total Environ 155(1):1–8. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shriadah M (1999) Heavy metals in mangrove sediments of the United Arab Emirates shoreline (Arabian Gulf). Water Air Soil Pollution 116(3–4):523–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Beyer WN (1990) Evaluating soil contamination. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Authority P o. l (2016) Cefas guideline action levels for the disposal of dredged materialGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Torres LG, Lopez RB, Beltran M (2012) Removal of As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn from a highly contaminated industrial soil using surfactant enhanced soil washing. Phys Chem Earth A/B/C 37:30–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Luo S-l, Chen L, Chen J-l, Xiao X, Xu T-y, Wan Y et al (2011) Analysis and characterization of cultivable heavy metal-resistant bacterial endophytes isolated from Cd-hyperaccumulator Solanum nigrum L. and their potential use for phytoremediation. Chemosphere 85(7):1130–1138CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Althukair A, Khan M, Alhinai K (1995) Monitoring of coast line and habitat changes of Tarut Bay, Saudi Arabia using satellite images. In Proceedings of ASCE-SAS Second Regional Conference and ExhibitionGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    De Lacerda LD, Abrao JJ (1984) Heavy metal accumulation by mangrove and saltmarsh intertidal sediments. Rev Bras Biol 7:49–52Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Dahmani-Muller H, Van Oort F, Gelie B, Balabane M (2000) Strategies of heavy metal uptake by three plant species growing near a metal smelter. Environ Pollut 109(2):231–238CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Appenroth K-J (2010) What are “heavy metals” in plant sciences? Acta Physiol Plant 32(4):615–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kabata-Pendias A (2010) Trace elements in soils and plants. CRC Press, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Bothe H (2011) Plants in heavy metal soils. In: Sherameti I, Varma A (eds) Detoxification of heavy metals. Springer, Berlin, pp 35–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Shahid M, Ferrand E, Schreck E, Dumat C (2013) Behavior and impact of zirconium in the soil–plant system: plant uptake and phytotoxicity. In: Whitacre D (ed) Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology, vol 221. Springer, New York, pp 107–127Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, College of ScienceImam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU)DammamSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations