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Methylmercury Bioavailability and Dynamics in the Streams of Piasa Creek Watershed: New Methods of Sampling and Analysis

Managing the exposure of the general population to Hg pollution has   become a significant public concern, a concern validated at least in   part by the fact that eight percent of women of childbearing age in   the U.S. have Hg in blood above the US EPA's reference level   (Schober et al., 2  3). The focus of this concern has been on the   occurrence of excess Hg in aquatic ecosystems and its effects on the   health of humans and wildlife that consume fish. It is clear that   there exists a knowledge gap about Hg contamination in Illinois   surface water resources. In particular, relatively little is known   about the levels of MeHg - the most potent neurotoxin of all the Hg   species and the only form of Hg that biomagnifies in aquatic food   webs - in rivers and streams draining agricultural watersheds. Thus,   little basis exists for predicting the benefits of emissions   reductions in the main class of aquatic ecosystems in Illinois:   riverine or lotic ecosystems.    Herein, we propose to begin filling this void by conducting a study   of Hg and MeHg levels in water and aquatic food webs of a small,   mixed land use watershed in western Illinois. The proposed field   study will serve several purposes:  - The study expands our knowledge of the hydrologic factors   influencing MeHg levels in Illinois' rivers and streams.  - The study will test a newly-developed approach - termed diffusive   gradients in thin films or "DGT" - for sampling bioavailable MeHg   that, if successful, will help reduce the cost of monitoring MeHg   levels in surface water systems. DGT results will be compared to   measurements of MeHg in crayfish. Both are intended to give a   location-specific measure of MeHg in prey items for fish and   approaches are suitable for implementation by employees of state   agencies with only limited training in ultraclean protocols.  - The study will include synoptic surveys designed to investigate in-  stream sinks of MeHg so that we can determine whether landscape-  scale investigations of Hg pollution effects can focus solely on   identifying likely sources of MeHg or whether both sources and sinks   must be considered.     (toxic metal); (toxic metals); (mercury); (Hg); (methylmercury);   (chemicals of concern); (chemical of concern); (Illinois)

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Landscape
Impact of Pollutants
Toxic Metals
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Out of Basin
State Province
Illinois
Annex Numbers
Persistent Toxic Substances
Research & Development
Specific Objectives for toxic substances and effluents
Annex 17
Mass transfer of pollutants between GL Basin Ecosystem components
General
Annex
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Persistent Toxic Substances
    Research & Development
    Specific Objectives for toxic substances and effluents
  • Annex 17
    Annex 17
    Mass transfer of pollutants between GL Basin Ecosystem components

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