The impact of resuspension on sediment mercury dynamics, and methylmercury production and fate: A mesocosm study
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Type of Work17 pages
Citation of Original PublicationKim, Eun-Hee; Mason, Robert P.; Porter, Elka T.; Soulen, Heather L. (2006) The impact of resuspension on sediment mercury dynamics, and methylmercury production and fate: A mesocosm study. Marine Chemistry 102:300-315.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of resuspension on the fate and bioaccumulation of mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in shallow estuarine environments, using mesocosms. Two 4-week experiments were conducted in July (Experiment 1) and October (Experiment 2) of 2001 with Baltimore Harbor sediments. Hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria, were introduced into sediments for Experiment 2. Tidal resuspension (4 h on and 2 h off cycles) was simulated, with 3 replicate tanks for each treatment—resuspension (R) and non-resuspension (NR). Sediment cores were collected during the experiments for THg, MeHg, organic content andAVS analyses, and for the determination of methylation/demethylation using Hg stable isotopes (199Hg(II) and CH3 199Hg(II)). Zooplankton samples were collected once a week while clams were taken before and after Experiment 2 for THg and MeHg analyses. Our results suggest that the interplay between Hg methylation and MeHg degradation determines the overall MeHg pool in sediments. Sediment resuspension does not appear to directly impact the Hg transformations but can lead to changes in the association to Hg binding phases, influencing Hg methylation. The bioaccumulation results indicate that sediment resuspension can play an important role in transferring sediment MeHg into organisms.