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  • Influence of forest canopies on the deposition of methylmercury to boreal ecosystem watersheds
  • Mowat, Linnea
  • en
  • mercury
  • May 31, 2010 3:43 PM
  • Thesis
  • en
  • Adobe PDF
  • 1788749 bytes
  • Methylmercury (MeHg) is a potent vertebrate neurotoxin and a contaminant of global concern. Increased anthropogenic emissions of mercury (Hg) to the atmosphere have led to increased bioaccumulation of MeHg in top predatory organisms such as fish, the consumption of which is the main exposure pathway of this toxin to humans and other animals. Forest canopies significantly increase the deposition of Hg in general to watersheds, but sources and fates of MeHg deposition in particular remain poorly understood. In this study, wet and dry loadings of MeHg to a watershed were quantified, and the retention and (photo)reduction of MeHg on foliage were measured using unique stable isotope experiments. We found that traditional methods of quantifying net deposition underestimate incoming sources of MeHg, and that retention of MeHg on forest canopies results in delayed transport of a significant portion of newly deposited MeHg from terrestrial catchments into adjacent lakes.
  • Master's
  • Master of Science
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Fall 2010
  • St. Louis, Vincent (Biological Sciences)
  • Cahill, James (Biological Sciences)
    Wilson, John (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)


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