Fluorescence characteristics of organic matter released from coastal sediments during resuspension

Tomoko Komada, Oscar M.E. Schofield, Clare E. Reimers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Excitation-emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy was employed to study the chemical nature of organic matter readily released into solution from sediment particles during episodes of resuspension. Surface sediment samples collected from five locations within the Hudson River Estuary and the Inner New York Bight were resuspended in their respective bottom waters for periods ranging from 30 s to 2 h. In most cases, fluorescence characteristics of the sample after resuspension differed from those predicted by conservative mixing of bottom and pore waters. Examination of excitation-emission matrices revealed that resuspension resulted in: (1) more intense humic-like fluorescence (Ex/Em 310/420 nm), and (2) greater fluorescence in the longer wavelength region of the spectrum (Ex/Em 330-388/440-480 nm) relative to the predicted values. Trends in the positions of excitation-emission maxima reported in the literature strongly suggest that fluorophores emitting at longer wavelengths are associated with increasingly degraded and/or aged organic matter. Thus, the data imply that resuspension of estuarine and coastal marine surface sediments releases degraded and/or aged, mineral-bound organic matter from the sediment matrix to the surrounding bottom waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Humic substances
  • Organic matter
  • Resuspension
  • Sedimentary environments
  • Sorption

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