Spatial distribution of dissolved/dispersed petroleum hydrocarbons in seawater and sediments from the Mediterranean coastal area of Türkiye

Spatial distribution of dissolved/dispersed petroleum hydrocarbons in seawater and sediments from the Mediterranean coastal area of Türkiye

Selma Ünlü, Elif Özgür

ORCID ID(s): S.Ü. 0000-0002-9156-4332; E.Ö. 0000-0001-5699-7565

Institute of Marine Sciences and Management, Istanbul University, 34134 Istanbul, TÜRKİYE
Turkish Marine Research Foundation, P.O. Box: 10, Beykoz, 34820, Istanbul, TÜRKİYE


In this study, the distribution of dissolved/dispersed petroleum hydrocarbons (DDPHs) in coastal water and sediments from the western coastline of Antalya Gulf (Mediterranean Sea, Türkiye) in December 2018 and in May 2019 was investigated by the UV-fluorescence spectroscopy method. The hydrocarbon concentrations ranged from 4.6 to 9.1µg/L (Thetis-Oil equivalents) for coastal waters and from 6.5 to 11.2 µg/g, dry weight (Thetis-Oil equivalents) for sediments, respectively. No significant correlations were observed between petroleum hydrocarbons and physico-chemical parameters measured in seawater (except pH; r=−0.62, p< 0.05). When compared with various environmental hydrocarbon pollution criteria, the levels found in this study indicated that the coastal waters and sediments were considerably polluted. Intensive maritime activities, ship and boat traffic increased tourist influx, oil spills from ships, illegal discharge of oily wastewater, increase in population density, runoff, and atmospheric fallout during rainy periods were considered the main causes of local hydrocarbon pollution in the region. The findings suggest that regional monitoring programs need to be continued in all sensitive coastal areas to describe concentrations and distributions of hydrocarbons at the sea surface, in sediments, and in biota. The results of this study can contribute to the baseline data which can be used for future monitoring programs and regulatory actions to improve the environmental quality of the Mediterranean coastal zone of Türkiye.

Keywords: Petroleum hydrocarbons, coastal waters, surface sediment, UV-fluorescence spectroscopy, contamination, Mediterranean Sea

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