Journal article

Mercury sources, distribution, and bioavailability in the North Pacific Ocean: Insights from data and models

Elsie M Sunderland, David P Krabbenhoft, John W Moreau, Sarah A Strode, William M Landing



Fish harvested from the Pacific Ocean are a major contributor to human methylmercury (MeHg) exposure. Limited oceanic mercury (Hg) data, particularly MeHg, has confounded our understanding of linkages between sources, methylation sites, and concentrations in marine food webs. Here we present methylated (MeHg and dimethylmercury (Me2Hg)) and total Hg concentrations from 16 hydrographie stations in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. We use these data in combination with information from previous cruises and coupled atmospheric-oceanic modeling results to better understand controls on Hg concentrations, distribution, and bioavailability. Total Hg concentrations (average 1.14 ± 0.38 pM) are elevat..

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Awarded by Chemical Oceanography Program of the National Science Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

Financial support for this study was provided by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program and the Chemical Oceanography Program of the National Science Foundation (W. M. Landing, OCE-0223378 and OCE-0649639). The authors acknowledge the NSF/NOAA-funded U.S. Repeat Hydrography Program and the NOAA Climate Program. Data used in this manuscript were provided by the following participants in the Leg 2 CLIVAR P16N Cruise: Andreas Thurnherr (LADCP data), Richard Feely and Chris Sabine (carbon data), Gregory Johnson and Molly Baringer (bottle hydrographic measurement program), Chris Langdon (dissolved oxygen data), CalvinMordy and Jia-Zhong Zhang (nutrient data), and Mark Warner and Wendi Ruef (CFC data). We thank Chris Holmes and Daniel Jacob at Harvard University, Noelle Selin at MIT, and Robert Mason at the University of Connecticut for useful discussion related to this manuscript. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge analytical support from John De Wild, Tom Sabin, and Shane Olund in the USGS Mercury Research Laboratory. Any use of trade, product, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.