An intercomparison of procedures for the determination of total mercury in seawater and recommendations regarding mercury speciation during GEOTRACES cruises

Carl H. Lamborg, Chad R. Hammerschmidt, Gary A. Gill, Robert P. Mason, Susan Gichuki

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 10:90-100 (2012) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2012.10.90

ABSTRACT: We conducted a laboratory intercomparison of total mercury (Hg) determination in seawater collected during U.S. GEOTRACES Intercalibration cruises in 2008 and 2009 to the NW Atlantic and NE Pacific Oceans. Results indicated substantial disagreement between the participating laboratories, which appeared to be affected most strongly by bottle cleanliness and preservation procedures. In addition, we examined the effectiveness of various collection and sample preparation procedures that may be used on future GEOTRACES cruises. The type of sampling system and filtration medium appeared to make little difference to results. Finally, and in light of results from experiments that considered sample bottle material effect and the development of new methods for CH3Hg+ extraction from seawater, we propose a recommended procedure for determining all four of the major Hg species in seawater (elemental, dimethyl-, monomethyl-, and total Hg).