Studies of the Chemical Forms of Trace Elements in Sea Water Using Radiotracers

  • M. Amdurer
  • D. Adler
  • P. H. Santschi
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)


Important clues as to the chemical forms, seasonal variations, biogeochemical transformations and removal mechanisms of trace elements in natural waters are revealed by the use of chemical separation procedures. The use of radioisotopes greatly facilitates these studies by offering simple, rapid multielement analysis. We have added a total of 26 radiotracers in various forms to large marine microcosms (13 m3 tanks, Marine Ecosystems Research Lab, U.R.I.) and monitored their chemical and biological behavior over periods of up to nine months. Our chemical separation scheme consists of serial extraction by 0.4 pm filter, activated charcoal and chelex resin; other techniques include fractionation with XAD resin or ultra-filtration of the “dissolved” fraction. Results indicate that the transition metals and metalloids studied have distinct “fingerprints” which allow the identification of groups of similarly-behaving elements. The distribution of chemical forms varies with season, condition of the water column with respect to biological activity or suspended particulate matter, and the form of the added tracer. The fractionations of some radioactive trace elements in the microcosms are compared with chemical speciations predicted by equilibrium chemical speciation models.


Water Column Trace Metal Chemical Form Activate Charcoal Particle Residence Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Amdurer
    • 1
  • D. Adler
    • 1
  • P. H. Santschi
    • 1
  1. 1.Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia UniversityPalisadesUSA

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