Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mercury in stream ecosystems

Three related U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) articles on mercury transport, biogeochemical processes, and bioaccumulation in stream ecosystems have been published in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T). The papers were published electronically on the March 11, 2009 in the "Just Published (ASAP)" web version of ES&T, and will be published in final form in the April 15, 2009 print issue.

The USGS studied eight streams in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Florida during 2002-2006. Streams in urban areas (near Portland, Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Orlando, Florida), and streams in relatively undeveloped areas in these states were included in the study. The streams span a range of environmental settings and watershed characteristics that can affect biogeochemistry and bioaccumulation of mercury in streams, including precipitation, mercury deposition rates, degree of urbanization, and wetland abundance. Findings from these studies can help decision makers to better anticipate concentrations of mercury and methylmercury in unstudied streams in comparable environmental settings.

To see the reports, go to USGS.