This week our research team published an article in Nature discussing the amount of mercury in the ocean from human activities. Surface ocean mercury concentrations have tripled since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Today, the main source of mercury from human activity comes from coal-fired power plants like those found in the United States and developing countries like China and India. Once in the ocean, mercury is transformed to a chemical compound called methylmercury, a neurotoxin that biomagnifies in fish and ends up on our dinner plates. In the United States alone, millions of women have blood mercury levels high enough to effect fetal neurodevelopment. Click here to read more about the study.
Data for this new publication was collected on the 2011 North Atlantic GEOTRACES cruise chronicled in this blog, and on other similar expeditions.Scroll down to read about life at sea and what’s it’s like to do science out in the middle of the ocean.