An examination of the factors controlling net methylation in estuarine sediments: Results from measurements and models
1 Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT 06340 USA ; 860-4059129
2 Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH 03755 USA
An examination of the distribution of mercury and methylmercury across estuarine ecosystems in the northeast USA was completed under a number of projects. Sites ranged from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay and included both pristine and contaminated sites. In addition to measurements of bulk sediment and porewater, methylation and demethylation rates were also measured. Results showed that the relationships between sediment-porewater partitioning and methylation potential with sediment organic content are complex and that sediment organic content alone is not always a good predictor of the potential for a system to produce methylmercury. Modeling and correlations between variables suggest that the sulfur content of the system needs to be considered and for high organic content sediments, both sulfur and organic content.
Key words: Mercury / methylmercury / coastal / methylation / demethylation / bioaccumulation
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
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