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Dissolved Gaseous Mercury Production at a Marine Aquaculture Site in the Mercury-Contaminated Marano and Grado Lagoon, Italy


Dissolved gaseous mercury (DGM) production was examined in relation to ultraviolet radiation within a marine aquaculture site in the contaminated Marano and Grado Lagoon (Italy). The measured rates of DGM production relative to time elapsed (17.06 and 20.68 pg h−1, respectively) were substantially (6–20 times) higher than what has been observed in other marine Hg studies. We measured similar levels of DGM relative to dissolved total mercury (THgD) (0.84%–8.91%) at these sites in comparison to uncontaminated marine sites, however relative to other moderately-contaminated marine sites in Portugal the % DGM/THgD was high. These results suggest a substantial capacity for Hg volatilization from these highly contaminated lagoons to the atmosphere due to photoreduction mechanisms.

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This work was supported by Canada Foundation for Innovation (NJO Grant #203477), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NJO Grant # 341960–2013), the University of Trieste (Finanziamento di Ateneo per progetti di ricerca scientifica—FRA 2016, ref. SC), and post-doctoral fellowship to EP from the University of Trieste (Cofin MIUR 2017—Mercury dynamics in the lagoon environment). Thanks to Claire Wilson O’Driscoll for field and logistical support as well as manuscript editing.

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Correspondence to Nelson J. O’Driscoll.

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O’Driscoll, N.J., Covelli, S., Petranich, E. et al. Dissolved Gaseous Mercury Production at a Marine Aquaculture Site in the Mercury-Contaminated Marano and Grado Lagoon, Italy. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 103, 218–224 (2019).

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  • Dissolved gaseous mercury
  • Photoreduction
  • Aquaculture
  • Lagoon
  • Contamination