Water Column Distribution of Mercury Species in Permanently Stratified Aqueous Environments
© 2018, Pleiades Publishing, Inc. Biogeochemical structures of three permanently stratified waterbodies were studied: a sea water basin (the Black Sea), an estuary (Hunnbunn fjord), and a freshwater lake (Nordbytjernet), with focus on the distributions of methylmercury (MeHg) and total mercury (THg). THg concentrations were similar in the sea water basin (0.2–1.8 ng/L) and the freshwater lake (0.8–1.2 ng/L), but significantly higher in the estuary (0.6–9.4 ng/L). An increase in the MeHg concentration and MeHg/THg ratio were found in the redox zone in all three basins, indicating bacterial production of MeHg in the aqueous phase. In the lake and estuary, the maximum MeHg concentration and MeHg/THg ratio were found in samples located closest to the bottom sediments, likely due to the formation of MeHg in surface sediments and subsequent diffusion to the overlying waters.