Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Mercury releases contaminate ocean fish: Dartmouth-led effort publishes major findings

04.12.2012
New research important to discussion of international mercury

In new research published in a special issue of the journal Environmental Research and in "Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment"— a companion report by the Dartmouth-led Coastal and Marine Mercury Ecosystem Research Collaborative (C-MERC), scientists report that mercury released into the air and then deposited into oceans contaminates seafood commonly eaten by people in the U.S. and globally.

Over the past century, mercury pollution in the surface ocean has more than doubled, as a result of past and present human activities such as coal burning, mining, and other industrial processes. The research findings by C-MERC published today also examine the effects of local mercury inputs that dominate some near-shore coastal waters.

C-MERC's research is presented through nine scientific papers in Environmental Research and is the culmination of two years of work by approximately 70 mercury and marine scientists from multiple disciplines including biology, ecotoxicology, engineering, environmental geochemistry, and epidemiology. The research provides a synthesis of the science on the sources, fate, and human exposure to mercury in marine systems by tracing the pathways and transformation of mercury to methylmercury from sources to seafood to consumers.

Two other papers focusing on the health effects of methylmercury were published earlier this year in Environmental Health Perspectives. Methylmercury has long been known as a potent neurotoxicant, particularly as a result of acute and high level human exposures primarily through seafood consumption, but more recent research has revealed health effects at increasingly lower levels of exposure.

The companion report, "Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment," looks at the pathways and consequences of mercury pollution across marine systems by drawing on findings from the C-MERC papers, scientific literature, and data from a range of marine systems and coastal basins (See accompanying image). Specifically, the report examines mercury sources, pathways, and inputs for the Hudson River Estuary, San Francisco Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Maine, Arctic Ocean, and the open ocean.

C-MERC's research findings are especially timely, as the U.S. and other nations prepare for the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Programme's Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC5) on January 13-18, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, which is working to prepare a legally binding instrument to control mercury releases to the environment.

"Despite the fact that most people's mercury exposure is through the consumption of marine fish, this is the first time that scientists have worked together to synthesize what is known about how mercury moves from its various sources to different areas of the ocean and then up the food chain to the seafood most people eat," said Celia Y. Chen, Ph.D., Research Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth. She is a co-author of the new Environmental Research papers on nutrient supply and mercury dynamics, and mercury sources in the Gulf of Maine, and authored an editorial on the subject in the journal, and is also a lead author of "Sources to Seafood." Chen will represent Dartmouth as an accredited non-governmental organization at INC5 in an observer status. Copies of C-MERC's Sources to Seafood report will be made available to INC5 attendees.

C-MERC research suggests that mercury deposited from the atmosphere ranges from 56% of the mercury loading to several large gulfs to approximately 90% in the open ocean.

"Oceans are home to large tuna and swordfish, which together account for more than half of the mercury intake from seafood for the overall U.S. population," said Elsie M. Sunderland, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Science at Harvard University. She is a lead author of an Environmental Research paper on mercury sources in the Gulf of Maine and a lead author of "Sources to Seafood."

Model estimates from the report indicate that methylmercury concentrations in marine fish will decline roughly in proportion to decreases in mercury inputs, though the timing of the response will vary.

"Our model estimates show that for the North Atlantic Ocean, a 20% cut in the amount of mercury deposited to the ocean from the atmosphere would lead to about a 16% decline in mercury levels in fish… But it is important to realize that achieving a 20% decrease in mercury deposition will require substantial cuts in current anthropogenic emissions, given the already very sizeable build-up of mercury in terrestrial environments and ocean waters," said Robert P. Mason, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Mason is a lead author of the Environmental Research paper on mercury biogeochemical cycling in the ocean and a lead author of "Sources to Seafood."

The C-MERC team also evaluated the fate of mercury in nearshore coastal waters and found a contrasting pattern to the oceans. "For some nearshore coastal waterbodies, like San Francisco Bay and the Hudson River Estuary, where there are large mercury sources such as historically contaminated sites, ongoing releases from wastewater or industrial waste and atmospheric mercury deposition in the watershed, mercury loading can be dominated by river inputs," said Charles T. Driscoll, Ph.D., University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering at Syracuse University. He is a lead author on an Environmental Research paper on nutrient supply and mercury dynamics, and a lead author of "Sources to Seafood."

The C-MERC team estimates that river inputs can be as much as 80% of the total mercury inputs to some estuaries. "The impact of mercury released to coastal waters from watersheds via rivers has been a somewhat underappreciated aspect of the problem. Yet, these bays and estuaries can be important sources of fish for local anglers, thus controls on these sources can have substantial local benefits," explained Driscoll.

"C-MERC's synthesis of research identifies the most important drivers of mercury pollution to different oceans and coastal waters, and can help policymakers understand the links between environmental processes, methylmercury levels in marine ecosystems, human exposure, and the human health effects—all of which are critical to the discussion of how local, regional and global mercury pollution affects the world's supply of seafood," said Chen.

Approximately one-third of all mercury emissions are associated with current industrial sources and other human activities that can be controlled. "The good news is that the science suggests that if mercury inputs are curtailed, mercury levels in ocean fish will decline and decrease the need for warnings to limit consumption of this globally important food source," added Chen.

About the Coastal and Marine Mercury Ecosystem Research Collaborative (C-MERC)

In 2010, the Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program at Dartmouth College brought together an international group of scientists and policy stakeholders to establish the Coastal and Marine Mercury Ecosystem Research Collaborative (C-MERC). The goal was to review current knowledge - and knowledge gaps – relating to a global environmental health problem: mercury contamination of the world's marine fish. C-MERC participants attended two workshops over a two-year period, and in 2012, C-MERC authors published a series of peer-reviewed papers in the journals Environmental Health Perspectives and Environmental Research that elucidated key processes related to the inputs, cycling, and uptake of mercury in marine ecosystems, effects on human health, and policy implications. For more information, please visit: www.dartmouth.edu/~toxmetal/C-MERC/index.html

The translation of this research through C-MERC and "Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment" was made possible by the Superfund Research Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number P42ES007373. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Amy Olson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~toxmetal/C-MERC/index.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topologische Quantenzustände einfach aufspüren

Durch gezieltes Aufheizen von Quantenmaterie können exotische Materiezustände aufgespürt werden. Zu diesem überraschenden Ergebnis kommen Theoretische Physiker um Nathan Goldman (Brüssel) und Peter Zoller (Innsbruck) in einer aktuellen Arbeit im Fachmagazin Science Advances. Sie liefern damit ein universell einsetzbares Werkzeug für die Suche nach topologischen Quantenzuständen.

In der Physik existieren gewisse Größen nur als ganzzahlige Vielfache elementarer und unteilbarer Bestandteile. Wie das antike Konzept des Atoms bezeugt, ist...

Im Focus: Unterwasserroboter soll nach einem Jahr in der arktischen Tiefsee auftauchen

Am Dienstag, den 22. August wird das Forschungsschiff Polarstern im norwegischen Tromsø zu einer besonderen Expedition in die Arktis starten: Der autonome Unterwasserroboter TRAMPER soll nach einem Jahr Einsatzzeit am arktischen Tiefseeboden auftauchen. Dieses Gerät und weitere robotische Systeme, die Tiefsee- und Weltraumforscher im Rahmen der Helmholtz-Allianz ROBEX gemeinsam entwickelt haben, werden nun knapp drei Wochen lang unter Realbedingungen getestet. ROBEX hat das Ziel, neue Technologien für die Erkundung schwer erreichbarer Gebiete mit extremen Umweltbedingungen zu entwickeln.

„Auftauchen wird der TRAMPER“, sagt Dr. Frank Wenzhöfer vom Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) selbstbewusst. Der...

Im Focus: Mit Barcodes der Zellentwicklung auf der Spur

Darüber, wie sich Blutzellen entwickeln, existieren verschiedene Auffassungen – sie basieren jedoch fast ausschließlich auf Experimenten, die lediglich Momentaufnahmen widerspiegeln. Wissenschaftler des Deutschen Krebsforschungszentrums stellen nun im Fachjournal Nature eine neue Technik vor, mit der sich das Geschehen dynamisch erfassen lässt: Mithilfe eines „Zufallsgenerators“ versehen sie Blutstammzellen mit genetischen Barcodes und können so verfolgen, welche Zelltypen aus der Stammzelle hervorgehen. Diese Technik erlaubt künftig völlig neue Einblicke in die Entwicklung unterschiedlicher Gewebe sowie in die Krebsentstehung.

Wie entsteht die Vielzahl verschiedener Zelltypen im Blut? Diese Frage beschäftigt Wissenschaftler schon lange. Nach der klassischen Vorstellung fächern sich...

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Forscher entwickeln maisförmigen Arzneimittel-Transporter zum Inhalieren

Er sieht aus wie ein Maiskolben, ist winzig wie ein Bakterium und kann einen Wirkstoff direkt in die Lungenzellen liefern: Das zylinderförmige Vehikel für Arzneistoffe, das Pharmazeuten der Universität des Saarlandes entwickelt haben, kann inhaliert werden. Professor Marc Schneider und sein Team machen sich dabei die körpereigene Abwehr zunutze: Makrophagen, die Fresszellen des Immunsystems, fressen den gesundheitlich unbedenklichen „Nano-Mais“ und setzen dabei den in ihm enthaltenen Wirkstoff frei. Bei ihrer Forschung arbeiteten die Pharmazeuten mit Forschern der Medizinischen Fakultät der Saar-Uni, des Leibniz-Instituts für Neue Materialien und der Universität Marburg zusammen Ihre Forschungsergebnisse veröffentlichten die Wissenschaftler in der Fachzeitschrift Advanced Healthcare Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201700478

Ein Medikament wirkt nur, wenn es dort ankommt, wo es wirken soll. Wird ein Mittel inhaliert, muss der Wirkstoff in der Lunge zuerst die Hindernisse...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

International führende Informatiker in Paderborn

21.08.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen für eine erfolgreiche Klimapolitik

21.08.2017 | Veranstaltungen

DGI-Forum in Wittenberg: Fake News und Stimmungsmache im Netz

21.08.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Im Neptun regnet es Diamanten: Forscherteam enthüllt Innenleben kosmischer Eisgiganten

21.08.2017 | Physik Astronomie

Ein Holodeck für Fliegen, Fische und Mäuse

21.08.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Institut für Lufttransportsysteme der TUHH nimmt neuen Cockpitsimulator in Betrieb

21.08.2017 | Verkehr Logistik