Product literature - Brochure

In-Situ Monitoring of Trace metal specification in Estuaries and Coastal zones in relation with the biogeochemical processes


Coastal ecosystems are threatened by anthropogenic activities and in particular by chemical pollution. Assessment of the impact of chemical pollutants are presently very difficult, because their speciation, i.e. the distribution of the various chemical forms of a given compound, cannot be determined accurately enough or at a sufficiently high time frequency. Development of the novel Multi Physical-Chemical Profiler (MPCP) will provide an unique analytical tool allowing automated trace metal speciation measurements coupled to master variables. Real-time monitoring, as well as detailed temporal/spatial evolution of the distribution of chemical species, will enable us to develop much better predictive models based on biogeochemical processes, to evaluate the impact of human activity on the ecosystem, and therefore to optimise industrial/social developments. The MPCP will also be applicable as early warning system in response of discharge events.

The overall objective is to develop an automated real-time, in-situ monitoring buoy supported Multi Physical-Chemical Profiler (MPCP) for dissolved trace metal measurements coupled to master variables, in estuarine and coastal ecosystems. For this purpose an existing trace metal monitoring package will be improved to allow multi-elemental low level monitoring of total concentrations and speciation of trace metals, simultaneously with master variables. Furthermore, the MPCP will be extensively deployed for pollution monitoring and corresponding biogeochemical studies in three complementary coastal ecosystems which are subject to anthropogenic pollution inputs. The long-term objective is for end-users (research institutions, water quality regulatory organisations and industry) to apply the MPCP developed in this project in estuarine and coastal water systems of the European Union, for biogeochemical studies, monitoring of trace metals and evaluation of their ecological impact.

The MPCP will be based on the VIP System developed during a MAST-III project and successfully applied in marine and freshwater environments. An important analytical development will form the incorporation into the monitor of the measurements of free metal ions and total metal concentrations. The ability to determine metal speciation in coastal waters will provide important information on the bioavailability of trace metals, and hence their real impacts on organisms and ecosystems. Another objective is to broaden the field of application of the MPCP to other transition metals, by incorporation of a chemical preconcentration stage coupled with flow injection analysis. In order to allow for a thorough environmental interpretation and rapid pollution warning, probes for the measurements of conductivity, temperature, depth, pH, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence and turbidity will also be incorporated, to provide a single instrument package which can be controlled from a land station via cellular phone. Field testing will take place in 3 coastal ecosystems with different characteristics, i.e: i) fjord systems in west Sweden, characterised by small tidal range and influenced by anthropogenic inputs, ii) macro-tidal estuaries in south west England, characterised by strong variations in water flow and turbidity and subject to enhanced trace metal inputs, and iii) the Po estuary and its coastal plume, characterised by low tidal range and important pollution inputs. The field campaigns are aimed at improving: a) the analytical developments of the monitoring package for application needs, b) harmonisation of fieldwork and analytical techniques to lead to an improved compatibility of EU laboratory data, c) the amount of environmental data for the three polluted areas, d) our understanding
of the trace metal behaviour in the coastal ecosystems and thus e) the capability of coastal managers to assess and predict the risks of contaminant inputs on ecosystems.

Reports, pubblications and partecipation to congress

>Result of the IMTEC project research are described in the following report "Executive pubilsheable summary, related to the overall project duration"
> Information about the project can also be found on the "Community Research & Development Information Service" at and on searching for the "IMTEC" Acronym.
> Complexing Gel Integrated MicroElectrode array for direct detection of free metal ion concentrations in natural waters.
> The Application of a VIP (Voltammetric Voltammetric In-situ Profiling) System in Estuaries for the Quantification and Speciation of Cu, Pb, and Cd Trace Quantification and Speciation of Cu, Pb, and Cd Trace Metals
> Multi Physical-Chemical Profiler for Real-Time automated in-situ monitoring of specific fractions of trace metals and master variables.
> Multi Physical-Chemical Profiler for Real-Time automated in-situ monitoring of specific fractions of trace metals and master variables.
> In-situ automated Monitoring of Trace metal speciation in Estuaries and Coastal zones in relation with the biogeochemical processes (IMTEC)