, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 196–204 | Cite as

Linking landscape development intensity within watersheds to methyl-mercury accumulation in river sediments

  • Jean-Claude J. Bonzongo
  • Augustine K. Donkor
  • Attibayeba Attibayeba
  • Jie Gao


An indicator of the disturbance of natural systems, the landscape development intensity (LDI) index, was used to assess the potential for land-use within watersheds to influence the production/accumulation of methyl-mercury (MeHg) in river sediments. Sediment samples were collected from locations impacted by well-identified land-use types within the Mobile-Alabama River Basin in Southeastern USA. The samples were analyzed for total-Hg (THg) and MeHg concentrations and the obtained values correlated to the calculated LDI indexes of the sampled watersheds to assess the impact of prevalent land use/land cover on MeHg accumulation in sediments. The results show that unlike THg, levels of MeHg found in sediments are impacted by the LDI indexes. Overall, certain combinations of land-use types within a given watershed appear to be more conducive to MeHg accumulation than others, therefore, pointing to the possibility of targeting land-use practices as potential means for reducing MeHg accumulation in sediments, and ultimately, fish contamination.


Watersheds Ecological Disturbance index LDI Mercury 


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Claude J. Bonzongo
    • 1
  • Augustine K. Donkor
    • 2
  • Attibayeba Attibayeba
    • 3
  • Jie Gao
    • 4
  1. 1.Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, Department of Environmental Engineering SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana
  3. 3.Faculté des SciencesUniversité Marien NgouabiBrazzavilleCongo
  4. 4.Manufacturing Technology & EngineeringCorning IncorporatedCorningUSA

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