Mercury in the Black Sea - results of the 2013 GEOTRACES MEDBlack cruise

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Lars-Eric Heimbürger1,2, Jeroen Sonke2, Micha J.A. Rijkenberg3, Loes J Gerringa3 and Hein J W De Baar3, (1)University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (2)CNRS-GET, Toulouse, France, (3)Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Den Burg, Netherlands
Inorganic mercury (Hg), whether of natural or anthropogenic origin, can be converted into the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg). Today we believe this conversion occurs during the bacterial remineralization of sinking organic matter in the oceanic water column. The Black Sea with its high organic matter inputs and anoxic deep waters is an excellent study site to investigate in more detail the processes yielding MeHg. To date only one vertical profile of Hg species near the Western shelf and one vertical profile in the Western Gyre are published (Lamborg et al. 2008). We will present new results of the 2013 Dutch-led GEOTRACES MEDBlack cruise in the Black Sea. Research vessel “Pelagia” occupied 12 full depth stations along an east-west transect from 13 to 25 July 2013. High resolution vertical profiles were sampled using a titanium ultraclean CTD frame (de Baar et al., 2008) equipped with 24 x 24L PVDF samplers. Samples were filtered (0.2µm, Sartobran 300), drawn into pre-cleaned 250mL Savillex PFA bottles and acidified to 0.4% (v:v) with double-distilled HCl. Dissolved MeHg, as the sum of monomethylHg and dimethylHg, was analyzed via isotope dilution gas chromatography sector field inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Total dissolved Hg was determined following the US EPA 1631 method. We will present high resolution vertical Hg species profiles, including one ultra-high resolution profile (1 sample every 5m-depth) to understand the dynamics along the chemocline (Luther et al., 1991). We will also present the results of the GEOTRACES international intercalibration exercise for dissolved MeHg and dissolved total Hg in surface seawater that we organized during the same cruise.


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