Ecological Impacts of Toxic Chemicals

The Role of Aquatic Ecosystems in the Elimination of Pollutants

Author(s): Matthew T. Moore, Robert Kroger, Colin R. Jackson

Pp: 225-237 (13)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805121211101010225


Contamination of aquatic ecosystems is always of concern to environmental scientists; however, these systems also possess unique capabilities allowing them to eliminate or remediate certain levels of pollutants. Primarily through the presence of vegetation, aquatic ecosystems are known to be capable of removing or at least decreasing pollutant loads travelling through the aqueous phase. In addition to vegetation, soil/sediment and microbes play a significant role in transferring or transforming pollutants to acceptable levels in aquatic ecosystems. This chapter focuses on some of the primary literature describing phytoremediation of organic pollutants (e.g. hydrocarbons and pesticides) and inorganic pollutants (e.g. metals and nutrients). Research indicates the popularity and success of phytoremediation techniques used to clean up both organic and inorganic pollutants from the water column. While certain caution should always be exercised, phytoremediation continues to serve as a successful means of pollutant remediation in aquatic ecosystems.

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