SEGH Articles

# SEGH 2014

06 February 2014
Dr Jane Entwistle is Head of Department of Geography at Northumbria University and is organising the 2014 SEGH conference. Here she gives some insight into the host organisation and city.

The Department of Geography at Northumbria University are delighted to host the 2014 SEGH conference. The conference oral and poster sessions will run over 3 days (1st – 3rd July), with a pre-conference workshop (30th June) led by Dr Mark Cave and Dr Joanna Wragg of the British Geological Survey, and a post-conference excursion (4th July) taking in some of the sights the North East of England has to offer, including a stop on Hadrian’s Wall. For specific details of the conference programme, keynote and invited speakers please go to www.northumbria.ac.uk/segh2014.

Northumbria University, in Newcastle upon Tyne, is renowned for the excellence of its teaching, as well as its research. Based in the popular, safe and vibrant city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria offers you one of the best academic and social experiences possible. Newcastle is known for its lively nightlife and friendly inhabitants, and is home to the world famous Newcastle United premier league football club and its 'Toon Army' (St James's Park stadium is situated in the city centre, only a 10 minute stroll from the campus). Newcastle also has its own Chinatown, several art galleries and museums, and Antony Gormley's Angel of the North stands on a low hill next to the main A1 southern road approach to Newcastle. The city is steeped in history having originated as a Roman settlement on the banks of the River Tyne over 2000 years ago. Newcastle is also the gateway to the spectacular Northumberland Coast with its sandy beaches and stunning coastal castles.

The University itself was formed in 1969 from the amalgamation of three regional colleges and today is the largest university in the North East of England with a student population of around 33,000 from over 125 countries. The Department of Geography sits within one of four faculties, the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. Research in the Department focuses around three research groups, with strong synergies between these groups:

Cold and Palaeo Environments. Members of the group work in polar and high mountain environments addressing key problems in Earth Systems Science. Current research includes: glacier mass balance, ice/water/sediment interaction and ice sheet dynamics; slope and coastal cliff processes and large landslide deposits; palaeo-biogeography and palaeo-biome reconstruction for modelling past climates; fluvial processes in large Arctic river systems; environmental microbiology; and subglacial lakes, as part of the Lake Ellsworth Consortium.

Communities and Resilience. Members of the group work in diverse topics from the localism of community engagement and social inclusion to the internationalism of world city economics and disaster risk reduction across Africa and Asia. The group also hosts the Disasters and Development Network (DDN), which aims to develop through research, teaching and learning, the knowledge and skills to address hazards, disasters and complex emergencies from the perspective of different development debates and experience.

Environmental Geochemistry and Ecology. Research in this area is focused upon the sustainability of the physical, chemical and biological environment. There is a strong focus on the application of these fields to problems from the local to global scale. This approach is supported by the Northumbrian Environmental Training and Research Centre (NETREC), a dedicated research, consultancy and training unit that has been running since 1996. NETREC operates the North of England Air Quality in Major Incidents Service on behalf of the UK Environment Agency. Current research includes: environmental analysis to detect and model bioavailability and bioaccessibility of metals and other pollutants in the environment and the associated risks to human health; ecological resilience and climatic impacts on biodiversity; carbon capture and ecosystem services.

Recently refurbished laboratories provide facilities for environmental geochemistry and microbiology, in addition to a dedicated laboratory (including core storage, HF fume cupboard, micro-balance and microscope rooms) for palaeo-environmental research. Available instrumentation includes Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry; High Performance Liquid Chromatography; Gas Chromatography and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry; Scanning Electron Microscope with energy dispersive spectrometry; and a Flash 2000 organic elemental analyser. Over £0.5 million has been invested in field equipment including: terrestrial laser scanner with ~2km range; sub-bottom profiler for lakes and offshore surveys; portable XRF system; global positioning systems for precise point positioning; state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles with high-resolution cameras for DEM generation and change detection; novel bespoke borehole radar equipment; ground-penetrating radar; seismic equipment; meteorological and air-monitoring equipment; and lake coring equipment.

We look forward to welcoming you to Newcastle and to Northumbria University and of course we will be happy to arrange a tour of the facilities during the conference.

Dr Jane Entwisle

Organiser of SEGH 2014

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## 34th SEGH International Conference: Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

Victoria Falls, Zambia

02 July 2018

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## Science in theNews

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### Abstract

Phosphate fertilizers were first implicated by Schroeder and Balassa (Science 140(3568):819–820, 1963) for increasing the Cd concentration in cultivated soils and crops. This suggestion has become a part of the accepted paradigm on soil toxicity. Consequently, stringent fertilizer control programs to monitor Cd have been launched. Attempts to link Cd toxicity and fertilizers to chronic diseases, sometimes with good evidence, but mostly on less certain data are frequent. A re-assessment of this “accepted” paradigm is timely, given the larger body of data available today. The data show that both the input and output of Cd per hectare from fertilizers are negligibly small compared to the total amount of Cd/hectare usually present in the soil itself. Calculations based on current agricultural practices are used to show that it will take centuries to double the ambient soil Cd level, even after neglecting leaching and other removal effects. The concern of long-term agriculture should be the depletion of available phosphate fertilizers, rather than the negligible contamination of the soil by trace metals from fertilizer inputs. This conclusion is confirmed by showing that the claimed correlations between fertilizer input and Cd accumulation in crops are not robust. Alternative scenarios that explain the data are presented. Thus, soil acidulation on fertilizer loading and the effect of Mg, Zn and F ions contained in fertilizers are considered using recent $$\hbox {Cd}^{2+}$$ , $$\hbox {Mg}^{2+}$$ and $$\hbox {F}^-$$ ion-association theories. The protective role of ions like Zn, Se, Fe is emphasized, and the question of Cd toxicity in the presence of other ions is considered. These help to clarify difficulties in the standard point of view. This analysis does not modify the accepted views on Cd contamination by airborne delivery, smoking, and industrial activity, or algal blooms caused by phosphates.

• Effects of conversion of mangroves into gei wai ponds on accumulation, speciation and risk of heavy metals in intertidal sediments 2018-06-23

### Abstract

Mangroves are often converted into gei wai ponds for aquaculture, but how such conversion affects the accumulation and behavior of heavy metals in sediments is not clear. The present study aims to quantify the concentration and speciation of heavy metals in sediments in different habitats, including gei wai pond, mangrove marsh dominated by Avicennia marina and bare mudflat, in a mangrove nature reserve in South China. The results showed that gei wai pond acidified the sediment and reduced its electronic conductivity and total organic carbon (TOC) when compared to A. marina marsh and mudflat. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Zn and Pb at all sediment depths in gei wai pond were lower than the other habitats, indicating gei wai pond reduced the fertility and the ability to retain heavy metals in sediment. Gei wai pond sediment also had a lower heavy metal pollution problem according to multiple evaluation methods, including potential ecological risk coefficient, potential ecological risk index, geo-accumulation index, mean PEL quotients, pollution load index, mean ERM quotients and total toxic unit. Heavy metal speciation analysis showed that gei wai pond increased the transfer of the immobilized fraction of Cd and Cr to the mobilized one. According to the acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) analysis, the conversion of mangroves into gei wai pond reduced values of ([SEM] − [AVS])/f oc , and the role of TOC in alleviating heavy metal toxicity in sediment. This study demonstrated the conversion of mangrove marsh into gei wai pond not only reduced the ecological purification capacity on heavy metal contamination, but also enhanced the transfer of heavy metals from gei wai pond sediment to nearby habitats.

• Cytotoxicity induced by the mixture components of nickel and poly aromatic hydrocarbons 2018-06-22

### Abstract

Although particulate matter (PM) is composed of various chemicals, investigations regarding the toxicity that results from mixing the substances in PM are insufficient. In this study, the effects of low levels of three PAHs (benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) on Ni toxicity were investigated to assess the combined effect of Ni–PAHs on the environment. We compared the difference in cell mortality and total glutathione (tGSH) reduction between single Ni and Ni–PAHs co-exposure using A549 (human alveolar carcinoma). In addition, we measured the change in Ni solubility in chloroform that was triggered by PAHs to confirm the existence of cation–π interactions between Ni and PAHs. In the single Ni exposure, the dose–response curve of cell mortality and tGSH reduction were very similar, indicating that cell death was mediated by the oxidative stress. However, 10 μM PAHs induced a depleted tGSH reduction compared to single Ni without a change in cell mortality. The solubility of Ni in chloroform was greatly enhanced by the addition of benz[a]anthracene, which demonstrates the cation–π interactions between Ni and PAHs. Ni–PAH complexes can change the toxicity mechanisms of Ni from oxidative stress to others due to the reduction of Ni2+ bioavailability and the accumulation of Ni–PAH complexes on cell membranes. The abundant PAHs contained in PM have strong potential to interact with metals, which can affect the toxicity of the metal. Therefore, the mixture toxicity and interactions between diverse metals and PAHs in PM should be investigated in the future.