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Modeling the presence of mercury in the aquatic environment: a focus on South Carolina. (South Carolina Academy of Sciences Abstracts).

In South Carolina, elemental mercury has accumulated in the aquatic environment via atmospheric deposition. Through methylation, elemental mercury is converted to methylmercury and absorbed by aquatic biota. Biomagnifying up the food chain, mercury is concentrated in high tropic-level fish and is consumed by humans. Since 1993, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has been sampling fish throughout the state for their mercury content. This data provides the opportunity to model the spatial distribution of mercury in the aquatic environment of South Carolina. The mercury to methylmercury conversion is space-specific and is higher in areas with high organic content in soil, reducing conditions, soil environments. Because these environments can be spatially explicit, it is possible to use a Geographic Information System to model where these conditions exist. Through the availability of site-specific fish-tissue data and the locations of methylating conditions on the landscape, a relationship between these two variables is deduced through regression. This predictive model reveals the probable concentration of mercury in fish-tissue in areas where sampling has not been conducted. This model allows for fish-consumption warnings to be issued in South Carolina areas where sampling is not economically or environmentally possible.
Tara M. Koman
Department of Geography
University of South Carolina
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Title Annotation:food chain research
Author:Koman, Tara M.
Publication:Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U5SC
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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