Table of Contents
International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2014, Article ID 625718, 10 pages
Research Article

Sediment Chemistry and Meiofauna from the Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf

1Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Troy University, Troy, AL 36082, USA
2Department of Physical and Earth Sciences, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36265, USA

Received 19 June 2014; Revised 8 September 2014; Accepted 9 September 2014; Published 1 October 2014

Academic Editor: Eric Achterberg

Copyright © 2014 Ceil C. Martinec et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined sediment chemistry, granulometry, and meiofauna on the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf from central Louisiana to Apalachicola, Florida. Sediment samples were collected in October/November 2012 with a Shipek grab sampler from 26 locations (extending from 28°18′46.079′′N, 91°10′44.471′′W to 29°3′48.383′′N, 85°28′25.679′′W) at depths ranging from 49 to 361 m. Sediment analysis revealed two distinct profiles to the east and west of the Mississippi River Delta at approximately 88°30′W. The concentrations of silt + clay, organic carbon, Ba, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn were higher in western sites and positively correlated with Al concentrations. Eastern sites contained sandier sediments with lower organic carbon concentrations and higher Sr and Ca concentrations. Nematode densities were higher at western sites and positively correlated with Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Zn, silt + clay, and organic carbon concentrations. Copepod densities correlated with very coarse + coarse sand, exhibiting higher densities at eastern sites. PAH concentrations were relatively low, with all sites having <1700 µg/kg total PAHs. This study has revealed two distinct sediment profiles in the eastern and western zones of the study, which appear to influence the nematode and copepod densities.