Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Mercury cycling in stream ecosystems. 1. Water column chemistry and transport

January 1, 2009

We studied total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in eight streams, located in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Florida, that span large ranges in climate, landscape characteristics, atmospheric Hg deposition, and water chemistry. While atmospheric deposition was the source of Hg at each site, basin characteristics appeared to mediate this source by providing controls on methylation and fluvial THg and MeHg transport. Instantaneous concentrations of filtered total mercury (FTHg) and filtered methylmercury (FMeHg) exhibited strong positive correlations with both dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and streamflow for most streams, whereas mean FTHg and FMeHg concentrations were correlated with wetland density of the basins. For all streams combined, whole water concentrations (sum of filtered and particulate forms) of THg and MeHg correlated strongly with DOC and suspended sediment concentrations in the water column.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Mercury cycling in stream ecosystems. 1. Water column chemistry and transport
DOI 10.1021/es802694n
Authors M.E. Brigham, D.A. Wentz, G. R. Aiken, D. P. Krabbenhoft
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Series Number
Index ID 70034553
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program