This study aims to investigate the control of arsenic distribution by biogeochemical processes in the Indian Sundarban mangrove ecosystem and the importance of this ecosystem as an arsenic source for surrounding coastal water. The As(V)/As(III) ratio was found to be significantly lower in both surface and pore waters compared to sea water, which could be attributed to biogeochemical interconversion of these arsenic forms. The biological uptake of arsenic due to primary and benthic production occurs during the post-monsoon season, and is followed by the release of arsenic during the biochemical degradation and dissolution of plankton in the pre-monsoon season. These results suggest that arsenic is immobilized during incorporation into the arsenic-bearing initial phase, and unlikely to be released into pore water until the complete microbial degradation of arsenic-bearing organic compounds. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.