Sources and bioavailability of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in Galveston Bay, Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • Oyster and sediment samples collected from six sites in Galveston Bay from 1986 to 1998 were analyzed for polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Total concentrations of parent PAHs in oysters ranged from 20 ng g-1 at one site to 9,242 ng g-1 at another and varied randomly with no clear trend over the 13 year period at any site. Concentrations of alkylated PAHs, which are indications of petroleum contamination, varied from 20 to 80,000 ng g-1 in oysters and were in higher abundance than the parent PAHs, indicating that one source of the PAH contaminants in Galveston Bay was petroleum and petroleum products. Four to six ring parent PAHs, which are indicative of combustion sources, were higher than those of 2-3 ring parent PAHs, suggesting incomplete combustion generated PAHs was another source of PAHs into Galveston Bay. Concentrations of parent PAHs in sediments ranged from 57 to 670 ng g-1 and were much lower than those in oysters. Sediments from one site had a high PAH concentration of 5,800 ng g-1. Comparison of the compositions and concentrations of PAHs between sediment and oysters suggests that oysters preferentially bioaccumulate four to six ring PAHs. PAH composition in sediments suggests that the sources of PAH pollution in Galveston Bay were predominantly pyrogenic, while petroleum related PAHs were secondary contributions into the Bay.

published proceedings

  • Estuaries and Coasts

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Qian, Y., Wade, T. L., & Sericano, J. L.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Qian, Yaorong||Wade, Terry L||Sericano, Jose L

publication date

  • December 2001