Spatial variability in mercury cycling and relevant biogeochemical controls in the Florida Everglades

Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Jun 15;43(12):4361-6. doi: 10.1021/es803665c.


Spatial patterns in mercury cycling and bioaccumulation at the landscape level in the Everglades were investigated by collecting and analyzing multimedia samples for mercury species and biogeochemical characteristics from 228 randomly located stations. Higher total mercury (THg) in environmental compartments (surface water, soil, flocculent detrital material (floc), and periphyton) generally occurred in the northern and central Everglades, but higher THg in water and periphyton in the Everglades National Park was an exception. Multiple biogeochemical characteristics, such as surface water dissolved organic matter (DOC(sw)), pH, chloride, and compositional properties of solid compartments (soil and floc), were identified to be important factors controlling THg distribution. Methylmercury (MeHg) was also higher in the northern Everglades for water, soil, and floc, but not for periphyton. Higher mosquitofish THg and bioaccumulation factor were observed in the central and southern Everglades, partially in accordance with periphyton MeHg distribution, but not in the "hot spot" areas of water, soil, or floc MeHg. The discrepancy in mercury bioaccumulation and mercury distribution in environmental compartments suggests that in addition to MeHg production, biogeochemical controls that make MeHg available to aquatic organisms, such as DOC(sw) and compositional properties of soil and floc, are important in mercury bioaccumulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinodontiformes / metabolism
  • Ecosystem*
  • Florida
  • Mercury / chemistry*
  • Mercury / metabolism
  • Mercury Compounds / chemistry
  • Mercury Compounds / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Water / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism


  • Mercury Compounds
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water
  • Mercury