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Title: Challenges and opportunities for managing aquatic mercury pollution in altered landscapes

Abstract

The environmental cycling of mercury (Hg) can be affected by natural and anthropogenic perturbations. Of particular concern is how these disruptions increase mobilization of Hg from sites and alter the formation of monomethylmercury (MeHg), a bioaccumulative form of Hg for humans and wildlife. The scientific community has made significant advances in recent years in understanding the processes contributing to the risk of MeHg in the environment. The objective of this paper is to synthesize the scientific understanding of how Hg cycling in the aquatic environment is influenced by landscape perturbations at the local scale, perturbations that include watershed loadings, deforestation, reservoir and wetland creation, rice production, urbanization, mining and industrial point source pollution, and remediation. We focus on the major challenges associated with each type of alteration, as well as management opportunities that could lessen both MeHg levels in biota and exposure to humans. For example, our understanding of approximate response times to changes in Hg inputs from various sources or landscape alterations could lead to policies that prioritize the avoidance of certain activities in the most vulnerable systems and sequestration of Hg in deep soil and sediment pools. The remediation of Hg pollution from historical mining and other industriesmore » is shifting towards in situ technologies that could be less disruptive and less costly than conventional approaches. Contemporary artisanal gold mining has well-documented impacts with respect to Hg; however, significant social and political challenges remain in implementing effective policies to minimize Hg use. Much remains to be learned as we strive towards the meaningful application of our understanding for stakeholders, including communities living near Hg-polluted sites, environmental policy makers, and scientists and engineers tasked with developing watershed management solutions. In conclusion, site-specific assessments of MeHg exposure risk will require new methods to predict the impacts of anthropogenic perturbations and an understanding of the complexity of Hg cycling at the local scale.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1419100
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1479643
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0017128
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ambio
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Ambio Journal Volume: 47 Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0044-7447
Publisher:
Springer Science + Business Media
Country of Publication:
Sweden
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; Contamination; Landcover; Mercury synthesis; Methylmercury

Citation Formats

Hsu-Kim, Heileen, Eckley, Chris S., Achá, Dario, Feng, Xinbin, Gilmour, Cynthia C., Jonsson, Sofi, and Mitchell, Carl P. J. Challenges and opportunities for managing aquatic mercury pollution in altered landscapes. Sweden: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1007/s13280-017-1006-7.
Hsu-Kim, Heileen, Eckley, Chris S., Achá, Dario, Feng, Xinbin, Gilmour, Cynthia C., Jonsson, Sofi, & Mitchell, Carl P. J. Challenges and opportunities for managing aquatic mercury pollution in altered landscapes. Sweden. doi:10.1007/s13280-017-1006-7.
Hsu-Kim, Heileen, Eckley, Chris S., Achá, Dario, Feng, Xinbin, Gilmour, Cynthia C., Jonsson, Sofi, and Mitchell, Carl P. J. Wed . "Challenges and opportunities for managing aquatic mercury pollution in altered landscapes". Sweden. doi:10.1007/s13280-017-1006-7.
@article{osti_1419100,
title = {Challenges and opportunities for managing aquatic mercury pollution in altered landscapes},
author = {Hsu-Kim, Heileen and Eckley, Chris S. and Achá, Dario and Feng, Xinbin and Gilmour, Cynthia C. and Jonsson, Sofi and Mitchell, Carl P. J.},
abstractNote = {The environmental cycling of mercury (Hg) can be affected by natural and anthropogenic perturbations. Of particular concern is how these disruptions increase mobilization of Hg from sites and alter the formation of monomethylmercury (MeHg), a bioaccumulative form of Hg for humans and wildlife. The scientific community has made significant advances in recent years in understanding the processes contributing to the risk of MeHg in the environment. The objective of this paper is to synthesize the scientific understanding of how Hg cycling in the aquatic environment is influenced by landscape perturbations at the local scale, perturbations that include watershed loadings, deforestation, reservoir and wetland creation, rice production, urbanization, mining and industrial point source pollution, and remediation. We focus on the major challenges associated with each type of alteration, as well as management opportunities that could lessen both MeHg levels in biota and exposure to humans. For example, our understanding of approximate response times to changes in Hg inputs from various sources or landscape alterations could lead to policies that prioritize the avoidance of certain activities in the most vulnerable systems and sequestration of Hg in deep soil and sediment pools. The remediation of Hg pollution from historical mining and other industries is shifting towards in situ technologies that could be less disruptive and less costly than conventional approaches. Contemporary artisanal gold mining has well-documented impacts with respect to Hg; however, significant social and political challenges remain in implementing effective policies to minimize Hg use. Much remains to be learned as we strive towards the meaningful application of our understanding for stakeholders, including communities living near Hg-polluted sites, environmental policy makers, and scientists and engineers tasked with developing watershed management solutions. In conclusion, site-specific assessments of MeHg exposure risk will require new methods to predict the impacts of anthropogenic perturbations and an understanding of the complexity of Hg cycling at the local scale.},
doi = {10.1007/s13280-017-1006-7},
journal = {Ambio},
number = 2,
volume = 47,
place = {Sweden},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-017-1006-7

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Cited by: 13 works
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Determination of Mercury Complexation in Coastal and Estuarine Waters Using Competitive Ligand Exchange Method
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Mercury in the Anthropocene Ocean
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Fish Consumption Practices among Frequent Consuming Fishers of Five Ontario Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs)
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Environmental Impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Coal Ash Spill. 1. Source Apportionment Using Mercury Stable Isotopes
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Mercury release from deforested soils triggered by base cation enrichment
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Residential Mercury Contamination in Adobe Brick Homes in Huancavelica, Peru
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Mercury cycling in a flooded rice paddy: MERCURY CYCLING IN A FLOODED RICE PADDY
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Concentration of mercury species in relationship to other site-specific factors in the surface waters of northern Wisconsin lakes
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Gaseous mercury emissions from urban surfaces: Controls and spatiotemporal trends
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Accumulation and translocation of methylmercury and inorganic mercury in Oryza sativa: An enriched isotope tracer study
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Environmental impacts and metal exposure of aquatic ecosystems in rivers contaminated by small scale gold mining: the Puyango River basin, southern Ecuador
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Mercury Cycling in Stream Ecosystems. 2. Benthic Methylmercury Production and Bed Sediment−Pore Water Partitioning
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Net Methylation of Mercury in Estuarine Sediment Microcosms Amended with Dissolved, Nanoparticulate, and Microparticulate Mercuric Sulfides
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Localization and Speciation of Mercury in Brown Rice with Implications for Pan-Asian Public Health
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Rice consumption contributes to low level methylmercury exposure in southern China
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Mercury Methylation by Dissimilatory Iron-Reducing Bacteria
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Dissolved gaseous mercury formation and mercury volatilization in intertidal sediments
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The Challenge and Its Solution When Determining Biogeochemically Reactive Inorganic Mercury (RHg): Getting the Analytical Method Right
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Mercury Methylation from Unexpected Sources: Molybdate-Inhibited Freshwater Sediments and an Iron-Reducing Bacterium
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Methylation of Mercury by Bacteria Exposed to Dissolved, Nanoparticulate, and Microparticulate Mercuric Sulfides
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Environmental Impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Coal Ash Spill. 2. Effect of Coal Ash on Methylmercury in Historically Contaminated River Sediments
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Updating global Hg emissions from small-scale gold mining and assessing its environmental impacts
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The burning question: Does burning before flooding lower methyl mercury production and bioaccumulation?
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Mercury concentrations in northern pike ( Esox lucius ) from boreal lakes with logged, burned, or undisturbed catchments
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Distribution of Heavy Metals in the Street Dusts and Soils of an Industrial City in Northern Spain
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Comparison of total mercury and methylmercury cycling at five sites using the small watershed approach
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Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Methylate Mercury at Variable Rates in Pure Culture and in Marine Sediments
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Temporal changes in the distribution, methylation, and bioaccumulation of newly deposited mercury in an aquatic ecosystem
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Spatial variations of mercury in sediment of Minamata Bay, Japan
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Managing Swedish forestry’s impact on mercury in fish: Defining the impact and mitigation measures
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Mercury levels in road dust and household TSP/PM2.5 related to concentrations in hair in Guangzhou, China
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Recovery of Mercury-Contaminated Fisheries
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Temporal and spatial influences of flooding on dissolved mercury in boreal reservoirs
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A comparison of the speciation and fate of mercury in two contaminated coastal marine ecosystems: The Venice Lagoon (Italy) and Lavaca Bay (Texas)
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Climate and Physiography Predict Mercury Concentrations in Game Fish Species in Quebec Lakes Better than Anthropogenic Disturbances
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Selenium inhibits sulfate-mediated methylmercury production in rice paddy soil
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International guidelines on mercury management in small-scale gold mining
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Nutrient supply and mercury dynamics in marine ecosystems: A conceptual model
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Heavy metals in urban soils: a case study from the city of Palermo (Sicily), Italy
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Cyanidation of mercury-rich tailings in artisanal and small-scale gold mining: identifying strategies to manage environmental risks in Southern Ecuador
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Comparison of mercury mass loading in streams to atmospheric deposition in watersheds of Western North America: Evidence for non-atmospheric mercury sources
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Forestry Practices Increase Mercury and Methyl Mercury Output from Boreal Forest Catchments
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