Department of Environmental Sciences

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Seminar Abstracts
Environmental Sciences Seminar Abstract            

  The Urban Estuary: What doesn't kill ya, just makes ya sick! (a case study of the Arthur Kill - the appendix of the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary)
William Wallace
College of Staten Island/City University of New York

The Arthur Kill (AK) is a highly urbanized tidal straight that separates NJ (Linden, Carteret) from NY (Staten Island). Due to the low tidal flushing in the area and proximity to the Fresh Kills landfill, industrial/petroleum refining facilities, heavy shipping traffic, and sewage treatment plants, the AK is one of the most severely polluted areas in the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary system. Over the past 10 years our research group has gathered a variety of data sets on the distribution of metal pollutants among AK sites, the accumulation of metals within resident biota and various ecotoxicological endpoints (i.e., impacts on behavior, changes in physiology, alterations in community composition, etc...). In composite, these data suggest a gradient in environmental impact that is lowest in the Raritan Bay and highest in the most remote areas of the AK (near the Fresh Kills Landfill), with organisms/populations/communities in these highly impacted sites exhibiting the greatest impairments of health. Although these highly impacted tidal creeks are often teaming with life, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that: What doesn't kill ya, just makes ya sick!

Last updated: 04/09/2010