Sedimentary sterols as indicators of environmental conditions in Southeastern Guanabara Bay, Brazil
Brazilian Journal of Oceanography
The interconnected Icaraí and Jurujuba embayments, set within the lower south-eastern portion of Guanabara Bay, SE-Brazil, have been subject to the direct input of domestic effluents and other associated contaminants from human activities in their watersheds. This study addresses the composition of carbon, nitrogen and molecular steroid markers of surface sediments (n = 24) and a short core (L = 47 cm), in order to evaluate the impact by sewage, the contribution between allochthonous and
... hthonous and autochthonous derived organic matter and eutrophication of the embayments. Coprostanol concentrations revealed, when compared to other regions in Guanabara Bay, high contamination by sewage close to the point of sewage discharge in Icaraí embayment. In contrast, the more enclosed and eutrophic Jurujuba embayment exhibited a larger contribution of autochthonous organic matter, as shown by the combination of cholesterol, dinosterol and, partially, also brassicasterol. The presence of stigmasterol and b-sitosterol also indicated a minor contribution of organic matter from terrestrial plants, as revealed by principal component analysis. The sedimentary record of the Jurujuba embayment exhibited highest concentrations of all sterol markers in the top layer, corroborating the recent increase in the accumulation of sewage, plankton derived organic carbon and also eutrophication. Trend in degradation of organic matter was evidenced by sterol/stanol ratios and the behavior of dinosterol indicated that the embayment has been dominated by the accumulation of phytoplankton derived organic matter since earlier times.