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The interplay between total mercury, methylmercury and dissolved organic matter in fluvial systems: A latitudinal study across Europe
Citation key BRAVO2018172
Author Andrea G. Bravo and Dolly N. Kothawala and Katrin Attermeyer and Emmanuel Tessier and Pascal Bodmer and José L.J. Ledesma and Joachim Audet and Joan Pere Casas-Ruiz and Núria Catalán and Sophie Cauvy-Fraunié and Miriam Colls and Anne Deininger and Vesela V. Evtimova and Jérémy A. Fonvielle and Thomas Fuß and Peter Gilbert and Sonia Herrero Ortega and Liu Liu and Clara Mendoza-Lera and Juliana Monteiro and Jordi-René Mor and Magdalena Nagler and Georg H. Niedrist and Anna C. Nydahl and Ada Pastor and Josephine Pegg and Catherine Gutmann Roberts and Francesca Pilotto and Ana Paula Portela and Clara Romero González-Quijano and Ferran Romero and Martin Rulík and David Amouroux
Pages 172 - 182
Year 2018
ISSN 0043-1354
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.06.064
Journal Water Research
Volume 144
Abstract Large-scale studies are needed to identify the drivers of total mercury (THg) and monomethyl-mercury (MeHg) concentrations in aquatic ecosystems. Studies attempting to link dissolved organic matter (DOM) to levels of THg or MeHg are few and geographically constrained. Additionally, stream and river systems have been understudied as compared to lakes. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the influence of DOM concentration and composition, morphological descriptors, land uses and water chemistry on THg and MeHg concentrations and the percentage of THg as MeHg (%MeHg) in 29 streams across Europe spanning from 41°N to 64 °N. THg concentrations (0.06–2.78 ng L−1) were highest in streams characterized by DOM with a high terrestrial soil signature and low nutrient content. MeHg concentrations (7.8–159 pg L−1) varied non-systematically across systems. Relationships between DOM bulk characteristics and THg and MeHg suggest that while soil derived DOM inputs control THg concentrations, autochthonous DOM (aquatically produced) and the availability of electron acceptors for Hg methylating microorganisms (e.g. sulfate) drive %MeHg and potentially MeHg concentration. Overall, these results highlight the large spatial variability in THg and MeHg concentrations at the European scale, and underscore the importance of DOM composition on mercury cycling in fluvial systems.
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