Dave Krabbenhoft discusses his career of mercury research

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Detailed Description

Dave Krabbenhoft discusses the history of his 28-year career at the USGS.  He describes how he started working on mercury research in the 1980s, trying to unravel the mystery of why mercury was being detected in fish in pristine lakes in Northern Wisconsin, and how that research has evolved over time to determine atmospheric mercury is the primary source of mercury pollution in those pristine ecosystems.


Date Taken:

Location Taken: Middleton, WI, US

Video Credits

Camera: Erik Meyers, USGS


So I’ve spent my entire 28 year career with the USGS working on environmental mercury contamination. I was one of a very fortunate few people back in the mid-to-late 1980s that got involved with trying to unravel a mystery, that was laid out back then; and that was how can the most remote, pristine lakes in northern Wisconsin have very surprisingly high levels of mercury in their fish, when there was no proximal or known source that we could think of. That project largely led to the discovery that atmospheric mercury was the most important source leading to the contamination of fish in these very pristine situations. And…back then, however, we couldn’t understand what the pathways were that got to these remote systems, what the most important sources were, and ultimately would they change in time if we could ever accomplish regulation of those emission sources.