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Assessing Mercury and Methylmercury Bioavailability in Sediment Pore Water Using Mercury-Specific Hydrogels

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2010,01 Jun 2015

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Environ Corporation Chicago United States

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Our research aims to evaluate the performance diffusive gradients in thin film devices DGTs as biomonitoring tools for total THg and methylmercury MeHg in benthic organisms. Mercury-specific DGTs were developed to measure labile THg and MeHg in sediments. Our research was based on the premise that the porewater and solid phase labile pool of THg and MeHg available to the DGTs is correlated to the bioavailable pool of THg and MeHg in that same matrix. Benthic organisms were codeployed with DGT devices in sediment in a series of laboratory experiments as well as at a marine field site. We analyzed the uptake patterns of THg and MeHg in both the tissue samples and DGT samples and evaluated whether the tissue and DGT data were correlated. Various iterations of these bench-scale experiments were conducted to investigate the performance of the DGTs as biomonitoring tools for a variety of organisms and under a variety of sediment conditions. Overall, it appears that relationships between DGT and tissue data are highly variable and may depend on the sediment characteristics at individual locations. It also appears that neither DGT nor tissue samples are consistently more sensitive than the other with respect to THg or MeHg concentrations in contaminated sediments.

Subject Categories:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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