|Every Cloud Has A Quicksilver Lining: The Environmental Chemistry Of Mercury |
|Charles Driscoll, Syracuse University|
2:30 PM, Alampi Room, Marine and Coastal Sciences
Eastern North America receives elevated mercury (Hg) deposition from a combination of local, regional and global sources. Anthropogenic emissions originate largely from electric utilities, incinerators and industrial processes. Emissions include species of Hg with variable atmospheric residence times, which influence atmospheric transport and deposition patterns. Forested regions characteristic of the Northeast are particularly sensitive to Hg deposition due to the filtering effect of canopy trees and associated elevated deposition, the prevalence of wetlands, and the abundance of unproductive surface waters, which combine to promote high concentrations of Hg in biota. The aquatic food chain can exhibit marked bioconcentration of methylmercury, resulting in Hg exposure to humans and other animals through fish consumption. Many animals in the Northeast exhibit high Hg concentrations. For the well-studied common loon, existing Hg concentrations can cause adverse behavioral, reproductive and population level effects. Management strategies have been introduced to control Hg emissions from electric utilities. However, for sensitive ecosystems controls from this single sector are likely inadequate to mitigate Hg contamination.
Host: Dr. Tamar Barkay