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Mercury reallocation in thawing subarctic peatlands

M.F. Fahnestock1,

1Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

J.G. Bryce1,

1Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

C.K. McCalley2,

2Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

M. Montesdeoca3,

3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA

S. Bai4,

4Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Y. Li4,

4Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

C.T. Driscoll3,

3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA

P.M. Crill5,

5Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden

V.I. Rich4,

4Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

R.K. Varner1,6

1Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
6Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

Affiliations  |  Corresponding Author  |  Cite as  |  Funding information

Fahnestock, M.F., Bryce, J.G., McCalley, C.K., Montesdeoca, M., Bai, S., Li, Y., Driscoll, C.T., Crill, P.M., Rich, V.I., Varner, R.K. (2019) Mercury reallocation in thawing subarctic peatlands. Geochem. Persp. Let. 11, 33–38.

Research funded by: UNH Earth Sciences Graduate Research Award, the Karen Von Damm Memorial Student Award, the Karen Von Damm Leadership Development Award (JGB), NSF1255888 (JGB) and associated technical support from UNH, the Iola Hubbard Climate Change Endowment (RKV, JGB), the Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates (NSF1063037), the Macrosystems Biology (NSF EF#1241037) (RKV) and by the Genomic Science Program of the United States Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research, grants DE-SC0010580 and DE-SC0016440.

Geochemical Perspectives Letters v11  |  doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1922
Received 27 April 2019  |  Accepted 15 August 2019  |  Published 14 October 2019
Copyright © The Authors

Published by the European Association of Geochemistry
under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0




Figure 1 (a) Relationships between TGM flux and ambient air temperature (°C) and (b) photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Symbols denote palsa (brown squares), bog (green triangles) and fen (blue diamonds) and include least squares linear regressions and associated r2 and p values. Evasion of TGM interpreted for values greater than zero and deposition for values less than zero.
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Figure 2 Summarised Hg in the three sub-habitats (from top to bottom): TGM, porewater methyl Hg (MeHg), and total peat Hg (corrected for dry bulk density).
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Figure 3 Mean relative abundance of potential Hg methylators at Stordalen Mire (n = 38 for palsa, 47 for bog, and 42 for fen), using microbial community data from 2010-2012 reanalysed from Mondav et al. (2017)

Mondav, R., McCalley, C.K., Hodgkins, S.B., Frokling, S., Saleska, S.R., Rich, V.I., Chanton, J.P., Crill, P.M. (2017) Microbial network, phylogenetic diversity and community membership in the active layer across a permafrost thaw gradient. Environmental Microbiology 19, 3201–3218.

. * indicates genera with members experimentally confirmed to methylate Hg.
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Figure 4 Schematic of biogeochemical Hg cycling across permafrost thaw with emphasis on Hg pools and major pathways. Red arrows denote gaseous (Hg0) flux for each stage of the thaw sequence. Peat inventories are for total Hg for the top 40 cm of the mire surface (cf. legend for corresponding range).
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