Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 715–724

Is total mercury concentration a good predictor of methyl mercury concentration in aquatic systems?


  • Carol A. Kelly
    • Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Manitoba
  • John W. M. Rudd
    • Department of Fisheries and OceansFreshwater Institute
  • Vincent L. St.Louis
    • Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Manitoba
  • Andrew Heyes
    • Department of GeographyMcGill University
Part VIII Mercury Methylation and Reduction Processes

DOI: 10.1007/BF01189723

Cite this article as:
Kelly, C.A., Rudd, J.W.M., St.Louis, V.L. et al. Water Air Soil Pollut (1995) 80: 715. doi:10.1007/BF01189723


Methyl mercury (MeHg) concentrations were compared to total mercury (THg) concentrations in a variety of types of aqueous samples collected at the Experimental Lakes Area during 1991 through 1993. In several streams, an experimentally flooded wetland, and peat pore water, there was no relationship between MeHg and THg concentrations. %MeHg (compared to THg) ranged from < 1% to over 90%. In three ELA lakes, as in groups of lakes from other regions, a linear relationship between MeHg and THg concentration was found. However, these relationships differed by a factor of three from one region to another. This study shows that THg inputs and/or concentrations are not very useful in predicting MeHg concentrations, and that factors within ecosystems are very important in controlling MeHg concentrations.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995