Mercury is a globally distributed pollutant that threatens human and ecosystem health. Even protected areas, such as national parks, are subjected to mercury contamination because it is delivered through atmospheric deposition, often after long-range transport. In aquatic ecosystems, certain environmental conditions can promote microbial processes that convert inorganic mercury to an organic form (methylmercury). Methylmercury biomagnifies through food webs and is a potent neurotoxicant and endocrine disruptor. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Maine, and the National Park Service (NPS) Air Resources Division are working in partnership at more than 50 national parks across the United States, and with citizen scientists as key participants in data collection, to develop dragonfly nymphs as biosentinels for mercury in aquatic food webs. To validate the use of these biosentinels, and gain a better understanding of the connection between biotic and abiotic pools of mercury, this project also includes collection of landscape data and surface-water chemistry including mercury, methylmercury, pH, sulfate, and dissolved organic carbon and sediment mercury concentration. Because of the wide geographic scope of the research, the project also provides a nationwide “snapshot” of mercury in primarily undeveloped watersheds.
|Title||Dragonfly Mercury Project—A citizen science driven approach to linking surface-water chemistry and landscape characteristics to biosentinels on a national scale|
|Authors||Collin A. Eagles-Smith, Sarah J. Nelson, James J. Willacker,, Colleen M. Flanagan Pritz, David P. Krabbenhoft|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Fact Sheet|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center|