Given the variation observed in mercury in fish from natural mercury level. Mercury in aquatic sediments is a potential source of this trace metal to biota, notably fish. Site specific factors, such as acidity and dissolved organic carbon have been shown to affect the mobilization of mercury and methylation of mercury. Methyl mercury is the most toxic form of this metal and the form most readily accumulated by biota.
Thirty-four headwater lakes, selected for a range in pH, were sampled for sediment mercury levels as part of an investigation of the impacts of acid rain on insular Newfoundland lakes. Selected physical and chemical data were also collected on all of the study sites. Acidity was not found to be significantly related to sediment mercury concentrations despite the wide range in pH. Pearson correlation analysis indicated that sediment mercury level was positively correlated with WA:LA (watershed to lake area ratio). WA:LA was also correlated with Secchi depth and colour. Linear regression was used to estimate the parameters of a model relating sediment mercury to WA:LA. Watershed area to lake area ratio was more important than site specific factors in governing the concentration of sediment mercury in lakes without industrial input.
Published in: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 110 (3-4) 347-362. 1999.
COMERN: Collaborative Mercury Research. Network