Science Serving Maryland's Coasts
Cynthia Gilmour, Ph.D.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Sediment Disturbance and its Effect on Methylmercury
The effects of sediment disturbance on methylmercury production were studied at Mackall Cove, off the Patuxent River estuary, near St. Leonard, MD. The study consisted of six mesocosms and three treatments. The sediment was stirred twice over three weeks in the disturbed treatments. Porewater and sediment samples were taken to determine the concentrations of methylmercury, sulfate and sulfide. Deeply disturbed sediment (10 cm) was shown to have a significant increase in the production of methylmercury due to an increase in microbial activity.
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