“It kind of rewires the global mercury cycle”
— Peter Raymond, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology
“It kind of rewires the global mercury cycle,” Raymond says. Previously, it was believed that most mercury in the open ocean was deposited there from the atmosphere, and then made its way into coastal areas. But now it appears that most mercury flows into the coastal ocean areas from rivers, and from there it moves out into the open ocean.
“Currently, policymakers mainly focus on controlling atmospheric emission and deposition of mercury, while the contribution of river mercury to coastal oceans is not well understood,” says Maodian Liu, a postdoctoral fellow in Raymond’s lab. He says that the new findings underscore the importance of limiting the mercury that makes its way into rivers.