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StormwaterA Resource for Scientists, Engineers, and Policy Makers$
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William G. Wilson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226364957

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226365145.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Mercury and Other Metals

Mercury and Other Metals

(p.147) Chapter 7 Mercury and Other Metals

William G. Wilson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses how mercury and other metals enter ecosystems as a result of atmospheric deposition and automotive sources. Heavy metals found in lake sediments closely match the emissions of regional sources, but in a positive sign, mercury and lead content in land animals reflect the decreasing levels seen over recent decades due to emissions regulations. This chapter also covers how mercury enters aquatic organisms through phytoplankton, which are then eaten by predators, biomagnifying mercury concentrations as the biomass progresses up to top predators. Mercury concentrations in fish-eating predatory fish are four times that of detritus feeders, and, the bigger a fish is, the higher mercury concentration it has from a longer lifetime of feeding. This chapter also shows that mercury is diluted within algal blooms, resulting in lower concentrations of mercury in the trophic levels above phytoplankton. One conclusion is that reducing nutrient loads without addressing mercury levels may be hazardous to fish health, and, ultimately, the humans that eat fish.

Keywords:   mercury, lead, heavy metals, biomagnification, bloom dilution, sediments

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