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Sediment quality and potential toxicity assessment in two Open/Semi-closed Mediterranean Sea areas: a case study of Sfax coast (Tunisia)

July 9, 2014

The Gulf of Gabès (south-eastern Tunisia) characterized by the abundance of halieutic resources is facing nowadays to strong anthropogenic pressures. This paper aims to assess and compare metallic pollution in two open/semi-closed areas bordering the coastline of Sfax (a part of such Gulf).The first area covers the outlet zone of many anthropogenic effluents of urban Sfax whereas the second area, located at a distance of 15 km from the first one, was selected as representative of numerous semi-closed areas bordering the Gulf that have served for harvesting clams. Spatial distribution of selected heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu and Fe) coupled with chemometric approaches (Enrichment factor, contamination degree, mean- ERM-quotients and cluster analysis) were used tools for the assessment of metallic pollution. The obtained results showed that metallic pollution is higher in the semi-closed area despite the absence of neighbouring anthropogenic sources, probably because of the relative importance of both autochthonous organic matter and biota. The computed potential ecotoxicity demonstrated moderately high values in this area, testifying a menaced biota that is prone to more affecting hazards if significant active measures are not taken. Keywords: Sfax coast, marine sediments, heavy metals, chemometric approaches, potential

Gargouri D, Moez B, Azri C, in press: Sediment quality and potential toxicity assessment in two Open/Semi-closed Mediterranean Sea areas: a case study of Sfax coast (Tunisia), Water Environment Research, doi:10.2175/106143014X13975035525546. Article (subscription required).

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