Green, A. C. University of Alabama, green014@bama.ua.edu
Bonzongo, J. C. Austin College, jbonzongo@austinc.edu
Buciak, M. A. University of Alabama, bucia001@bama.ua.edu
Lyons, W. University of Alabama, byons@wgs.geo.ua.edu

 
ASSESSMENT OF MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS IN THE SURFACE WATERS OF THE PEARL RIVER, MISSISSIPPI
 
Previous studies have suggested that rivers in the Coastal Plain of the Southeastern U.S. may present favorable conditions for the production of methyl mercury (MeHg) as a result of their physical characteristics and the abundance of wetlands. Elevated levels (>1.5 ppm) of mercury (Hg) in fish tissues have been reported in several locations along the Pearl River, resulting in the implementation of fish consumption advisories. Ultra clean trace metal collection and analysis of the river water, however, had not yet been performed. In an attempt to address the origin of these elevated Hg concentrations in the fish, 13 surface water samples were collected and analyzed for total (THg) and methyl Hg (MeHg). Additionally, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total suspended solids (TSS) and pH were measured in order to evaluate their role in Hg distribution within the river. THg concentrations ranged from 3.17 to 12.54 ng/L, and MeHg from 0.17 to 0.95 ng/L. Preliminary results show an increase in THg concentrations with an increase in seasonal flow. Dissolved MeHg/Hg values are significantly higher in the upper portion of the river where elevated Hg levels in fish have been reported. A weak relationship is observed, however, between dissolved MeHg/Hg and DOC values.
 
Day: Wednesday, Feb. 3
Time: 02:30 - 02:45pm
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS28WE0230S