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Monitoring hydrogen sulfide in salt marshes

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is produced in the environment when bacteria consume sulfate. The compound plays a role in the biogeochemical cycling of other key nutrients in sediments. To understand sulfur cycling, as well as H2S's role in other biogeochemical cycles, it is critical to understand the distribution and concentration of H2S in marine sediments.

To measure H2S dynamics in salt marsh sediments, scientists at Stony Brook University have developed a reversible sensor. The novel sensor paves the way for in situ, 2-D and dynamic measurements of H2S in marine sediments.

Previously, H2S detection methods were limited in their capabilities because no sensor could detect both 2-D and in situ distribution of H2S, as well as its dynamics in the environment.


  • images show worm tubes in sediment and concentrations of hydrogen sulfide
Worm tubes in sediment (left) and the sediment's hydrogen sulfide concentrations (right).
Qingzhi Zhu, Robert C. Aller, SUNY at Stony Brook

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