Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie

Liliana M. Hernandez Gonzalez, Vivien A. Rivera, Colin B. Phillips, Loren A. Haug, Shelby Hatch, Loren E. Yeager, Haebin Chang, Jennifer Alvarez, Karl J. Gnaedinger, William M Miller, Aaron Packman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Gensburg Markham Prairie (GMP), a high-quality tallgrass prairie and wetland in the Chicago area, is surrounded by high-traffic highways and residential communities. Anthropogenic inputs are a concern given observed ecosystem degradation around the periphery of the prairie. To understand soil quality and the potential for habitat degradation in GMP, we evaluated concentrations of metals and phosphorus in soil profiles, identified possible sources of contamination, and assessed the likelihood that contamination would impact the prairie ecosystem. Materials and methods: We collected 15 intact soil cores (to a depth of 120 cm) and 22 surface soil samples (0–10-cm depth), determined the soil type, and measured pH, organic matter, and concentrations of Pb, Cu, Zn, Mg, Fe, K, Ca, and P using ICP-OES. To quantify soil pollution, we calculated the element enrichment factor (EF) and single element pollution index (SEPI) for each sample. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to interpret relationships between site variables, elemental concentrations, and sources of metals. Results and discussion: Heavy metals (Pb, Cu, and Zn) and P were found to accumulate in surface samples. The mean EF values for Pb, Cu, Zn, and P revealed significant enrichment of these elements in the soil profiles. However, SEPI analyses indicate that GMP soils have a low level of contamination. PCA revealed that concentrations are highest for samples with high organic matter content near the ground surface and that Pb, Cu, and Zn have common sources of pollution. Conclusions: We observed enrichment of Pb, Cu, Zn, and P because of deposition from the urban built environment, but the enrichment levels are low enough that they are not expected to negatively impact the ecosystem of GMP. The detailed soil chemistry data constitute a spatial contamination map that can be used to assess potential long-term impacts on the ecosystem, such as reduction of plant growth and species diversity, and inform site management and biodiversity conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

prairie
soil profile
heavy metal
phosphorus
ecosystem
principal component analysis
organic matter
pollution
soil pollution
soil chemistry
metal
preserve
soil quality
soil type
species diversity
soil surface
soil
wetland
biodiversity
road

Keywords

  • Metals
  • Phosphorus
  • Prairie
  • Soil
  • Wetland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Stratigraphy

Cite this

Hernandez Gonzalez, Liliana M. ; Rivera, Vivien A. ; Phillips, Colin B. ; Haug, Loren A. ; Hatch, Shelby ; Yeager, Loren E. ; Chang, Haebin ; Alvarez, Jennifer ; Gnaedinger, Karl J. ; Miller, William M ; Packman, Aaron. / Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie. In: Journal of Soils and Sediments. 2019.
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title = "Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie",
abstract = "Purpose: Gensburg Markham Prairie (GMP), a high-quality tallgrass prairie and wetland in the Chicago area, is surrounded by high-traffic highways and residential communities. Anthropogenic inputs are a concern given observed ecosystem degradation around the periphery of the prairie. To understand soil quality and the potential for habitat degradation in GMP, we evaluated concentrations of metals and phosphorus in soil profiles, identified possible sources of contamination, and assessed the likelihood that contamination would impact the prairie ecosystem. Materials and methods: We collected 15 intact soil cores (to a depth of 120 cm) and 22 surface soil samples (0–10-cm depth), determined the soil type, and measured pH, organic matter, and concentrations of Pb, Cu, Zn, Mg, Fe, K, Ca, and P using ICP-OES. To quantify soil pollution, we calculated the element enrichment factor (EF) and single element pollution index (SEPI) for each sample. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to interpret relationships between site variables, elemental concentrations, and sources of metals. Results and discussion: Heavy metals (Pb, Cu, and Zn) and P were found to accumulate in surface samples. The mean EF values for Pb, Cu, Zn, and P revealed significant enrichment of these elements in the soil profiles. However, SEPI analyses indicate that GMP soils have a low level of contamination. PCA revealed that concentrations are highest for samples with high organic matter content near the ground surface and that Pb, Cu, and Zn have common sources of pollution. Conclusions: We observed enrichment of Pb, Cu, Zn, and P because of deposition from the urban built environment, but the enrichment levels are low enough that they are not expected to negatively impact the ecosystem of GMP. The detailed soil chemistry data constitute a spatial contamination map that can be used to assess potential long-term impacts on the ecosystem, such as reduction of plant growth and species diversity, and inform site management and biodiversity conservation efforts.",
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Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie. / Hernandez Gonzalez, Liliana M.; Rivera, Vivien A.; Phillips, Colin B.; Haug, Loren A.; Hatch, Shelby; Yeager, Loren E.; Chang, Haebin; Alvarez, Jennifer; Gnaedinger, Karl J.; Miller, William M; Packman, Aaron.

In: Journal of Soils and Sediments, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie

AU - Hernandez Gonzalez, Liliana M.

AU - Rivera, Vivien A.

AU - Phillips, Colin B.

AU - Haug, Loren A.

AU - Hatch, Shelby

AU - Yeager, Loren E.

AU - Chang, Haebin

AU - Alvarez, Jennifer

AU - Gnaedinger, Karl J.

AU - Miller, William M

AU - Packman, Aaron

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Purpose: Gensburg Markham Prairie (GMP), a high-quality tallgrass prairie and wetland in the Chicago area, is surrounded by high-traffic highways and residential communities. Anthropogenic inputs are a concern given observed ecosystem degradation around the periphery of the prairie. To understand soil quality and the potential for habitat degradation in GMP, we evaluated concentrations of metals and phosphorus in soil profiles, identified possible sources of contamination, and assessed the likelihood that contamination would impact the prairie ecosystem. Materials and methods: We collected 15 intact soil cores (to a depth of 120 cm) and 22 surface soil samples (0–10-cm depth), determined the soil type, and measured pH, organic matter, and concentrations of Pb, Cu, Zn, Mg, Fe, K, Ca, and P using ICP-OES. To quantify soil pollution, we calculated the element enrichment factor (EF) and single element pollution index (SEPI) for each sample. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to interpret relationships between site variables, elemental concentrations, and sources of metals. Results and discussion: Heavy metals (Pb, Cu, and Zn) and P were found to accumulate in surface samples. The mean EF values for Pb, Cu, Zn, and P revealed significant enrichment of these elements in the soil profiles. However, SEPI analyses indicate that GMP soils have a low level of contamination. PCA revealed that concentrations are highest for samples with high organic matter content near the ground surface and that Pb, Cu, and Zn have common sources of pollution. Conclusions: We observed enrichment of Pb, Cu, Zn, and P because of deposition from the urban built environment, but the enrichment levels are low enough that they are not expected to negatively impact the ecosystem of GMP. The detailed soil chemistry data constitute a spatial contamination map that can be used to assess potential long-term impacts on the ecosystem, such as reduction of plant growth and species diversity, and inform site management and biodiversity conservation efforts.

AB - Purpose: Gensburg Markham Prairie (GMP), a high-quality tallgrass prairie and wetland in the Chicago area, is surrounded by high-traffic highways and residential communities. Anthropogenic inputs are a concern given observed ecosystem degradation around the periphery of the prairie. To understand soil quality and the potential for habitat degradation in GMP, we evaluated concentrations of metals and phosphorus in soil profiles, identified possible sources of contamination, and assessed the likelihood that contamination would impact the prairie ecosystem. Materials and methods: We collected 15 intact soil cores (to a depth of 120 cm) and 22 surface soil samples (0–10-cm depth), determined the soil type, and measured pH, organic matter, and concentrations of Pb, Cu, Zn, Mg, Fe, K, Ca, and P using ICP-OES. To quantify soil pollution, we calculated the element enrichment factor (EF) and single element pollution index (SEPI) for each sample. We also used principal component analysis (PCA) to interpret relationships between site variables, elemental concentrations, and sources of metals. Results and discussion: Heavy metals (Pb, Cu, and Zn) and P were found to accumulate in surface samples. The mean EF values for Pb, Cu, Zn, and P revealed significant enrichment of these elements in the soil profiles. However, SEPI analyses indicate that GMP soils have a low level of contamination. PCA revealed that concentrations are highest for samples with high organic matter content near the ground surface and that Pb, Cu, and Zn have common sources of pollution. Conclusions: We observed enrichment of Pb, Cu, Zn, and P because of deposition from the urban built environment, but the enrichment levels are low enough that they are not expected to negatively impact the ecosystem of GMP. The detailed soil chemistry data constitute a spatial contamination map that can be used to assess potential long-term impacts on the ecosystem, such as reduction of plant growth and species diversity, and inform site management and biodiversity conservation efforts.

KW - Metals

KW - Phosphorus

KW - Prairie

KW - Soil

KW - Wetland

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