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Validating Landscape Models for Mercury in Northeast Lakes

dragonfly and larvaeValidating landscape models for mercury in northeast lakes using dragonfly nymphs as mercury bio-sentinels

Institutions: University of Maine, Dartmouth College, SERC Institute
Sponsor: Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC)

Mercury is a natural element but is found in elevated levels in Maine and many locations across the country due largely to fossil fuel emissions; mercury travels far in the atmosphere and lands in remote places – far from where it may be emitted – worldwide. Scientists are unable to predict which waterbodies might have high or low mercury because it has a complex cycle both getting to waterbodies and once it’s in the water. Our work has been using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels – to help us understand which types of watersheds and waterbodies seem to have greater mercury. This project is studying dragonfly larvae mercury and lake water mercury in a statistical set of lakes across the Northeast (all New England states plus New York).

This project follows on two other Mitchell Center research projects:

  • Evaluating Spatial Patterns in Mercury and Methyl Mercury in Northeastern Lakes: Landscape Setting, Chemical Climate, and Human Influences
  • Evaluating Scope and Trends for the Base Cation Decline in Surface Waters in the Northeastern US

Team Members:

Other Resources:

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