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The influence of sulphate deposition on the seasonal variation of peat pore water methyl Hg in a boreal mire
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
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2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 9, e45547- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that long-term sulphate (SO42-) deposition has made peatlands a larger source of methyl mercury (MeHg) to remote boreal lakes. This was done on experimental plots at a boreal, low sedge mire where the effect of long-term addition of SO42- on peat pore water MeHg concentrations was observed weekly throughout the snow-free portion of 1999. The additions of SO42- started in 1995. The seasonal mean of the pore water MeHg concentrations on the plots with 17 kg ha(-1) yr(-1) of sulphur (S) addition (1.3 +/- 0.08 ng L-1, SE; n=44) was significantly (p<0.0001) higher than the mean MeHg concentration on the plots with 3 kg ha(-1) yr(-1) of ambient S deposition (0.6 +/- 0.02 ng L-1, SE; n=44). The temporal variation in pore water MeHg concentrations during the snow free season was larger in the S-addition plots, with an amplitude of >2 ng L-1 compared to +/-0.5 ng L-1 in the ambient S deposition plots. The concentrations of pore water MeHg in the S-addition plots were positively correlated (r(2)=0.21; p=0.001) to the groundwater level, with the lowest concentrations of MeHg during the period with the lowest groundwater levels. The pore water MeHg concentrations were not correlated to total Hg, DOC concentration or pH. The results from this study indicate that the persistently higher pore water concentrations of MeHg in the S-addition plots are caused by the long-term additions of SO42- to the mire surface. Since these waters are an important source of runoff, the results support the hypothesis that SO42- deposition has increased the contribution of peatlands to MeHg in downstream aquatic systems. This would mean that the increased deposition of SO42- in acid rain has contributed to the modern increase in the MeHg burdens of remote lakes hydrologically connected to peatlands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 9, e45547- p.
National Category
Chemical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61191DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045547ISI: 000309392800059OAI: diva2:566672
Available from: 2012-11-09 Created: 2012-11-07 Last updated: 2013-02-14Bibliographically approved

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