Discrimination of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Metal Contamination in the Coastal Zone by Isotopic Analysis

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Theme Area: 
Coastal Ecosystem and Public Health


Henri Gaudette University of New Hampshire Principal Investigator

Students Involved:

Andrew Boeckeler UNH - Department of Earth Sciences
Emily Banks UNH - Department of Earth Sciences
Stephanie Getchell UNH - Department of Earth Sciences

To identify the sources of metal contamination in the coastal zone, Gulf of Maine, by isotopic analysis, therefore providing a management strategy for coastal zone remedial/regulatory decisions.


Perform isotopic analysis of coastal zone sediments, biota and precipitation by thermal ionization and ICP mass spectrometry to determine point versus nonpoint sources of metal pollution.


The issue of point versus nonpoint source(s) of contamination of the coastal zone is a critical management concern in the Gulf of Maine and the United States. The proposed research will provide guidelines and methodology to enhance management capabilities in decisions focusing on regulation and remediation.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant

Journal Article

  • Hoven, H. and F. Short (1999). Isotope ratios of 206Pb/207Pb in eelgrass, "Zostera marina," indicate sources of Pb in an estuary. Marine Environmental Research 48:377-387.


  • Getchell, S. (2002). The spatial and temporal distribution of Cu, Pb, Zn, and Cd in marine sediments of Boothbay, Maine. Master's Thesis, University of New Hampshire.
  • Boeckeler, A. (1996). Identification of sulfide mine contamination using lead isotopes: A study in the coastal Maine copper district. Master's Thesis, University of New Hampshire.
  • Banks, E. (1999). Distribution of heavy metals and clostridium perfringens in the recent sediments of Penobscot Bay, Maine. Master's Thesis, University of New Hampshire.